House Majority Whip James Clyburn said Sunday that he doubts the Bill of Rights would survive a vote in today’s political climate.

“I really believe sincerely — the climate that we’re in today — if the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments of the United States Constitution, were put before the public today, I’m not too sure that we would hold onto the Bill of Rights,” the South Carolina Democrat told MSNBC on Sunday.

“Especially when I see what people are doing with the Second Amendment and no telling what they would do with the First Amendment, as well as the others,” he said.

MSNBC’s David Gura responded by calling Mr. Clyburn’s comments “startling.”

“You really believe that?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” Mr. Clyburn replied. “There would be strong support against the Bill of Rights. Go through the Bill of Rights and I’ll tell you I run into people every day who would like to see so much of those guarantees uprooted.”

Mr. Clyburn made the remarks while defending his support for the controversial 1994 crime bill, which critics argue has disproportionately targeted low-income and minority communities. Sen. and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has proposed repealing the bill, but Mr. Clyburn said Sunday that throwing things out is not the American way.

“I do not agree with pulling things up by the root,” he said. “You don’t tear stuff up in order to improve on it. … We don’t start over in this country, we correct our faults.”

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