National Urban League President Vernon Jordan is willing to give President-elect Ronald Reagan "the benefit of the doubt," but will not extend the same consideration to some powerful Senate Republicans.
"I do not think we can prejudge the president-elect based on what he said in his campaign," Jordan said yesterday on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM). i"I think we have to wait to see what he does with his Cabinet, who he appoints . . . . what he has to say in his inaugural address."
But the black leader was not willing to go that far in the case of some conservative Republicans, such as Sen Strom Thurmond (S.C.) who will chair key committees when the GOP takes control of the Senate in January.
Comments from the senators "enunciating public policy before the president takes office . . . is creating an unusual amount of hysteria," said Jordan. Of Thurmond, who will take over the Judiciary Committee and has advocated repeal of the Voting Rights Act, Jordan said, "I have never given Senator Thurmond the benefit of the doubt."
Thurmond, Sen. Jesse Helms (N.C.), an avowed opponent of the food stamp program who will become Agriculture chairman, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), who will chair the Labor Committee, all "are in a state of utter euphoria about their positions," said Jordana, who was critically wounded by a sniper earlier this year in Fort Wayne, Ind. "I think [they] are talking to much. . . ."