Updated Monday at 2:28 p.m.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins broke precedent Monday and spoke out on Boston Public Radio about Republican efforts to thwart her confirmation to be U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts.

Rollins said it has been “surreal” to watch Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas attack her progressive approach to criminal justice and allege that she “sides with criminals.” Cotton and Cruz have called her “radical” and “dangerous.”

Federal nominees usually stay quiet during the confirmation process, but Rollins said she couldn’t stay silent as her work as D.A. is thrown into the spotlight.

“Everything about me breaks a pattern,” Rollins told host Jim Braude. “And quite frankly, the people of Suffolk County deserve a D.A. that is going to give 150% every single day… what I won’t be is be silent.”

She said that nominees generally avoid speaking up to make sure they don't derail their own job prospects, but “I refuse to be silent to benefit me.”

Rollins re-iterated her decision to not prosecute low-level crimes and pursue police reform. “I am pro-justice... I am not saying this is lawlessness,” Rollins said. “What I’m saying is — there are other mechanisms by which we can try to cure these alleged problems or social ills.”

For example, Rollins pointed to “the W towns” of Wellesley, Weston, Winchester and Wayland where, if a teenager is caught shoplifting, she said, they are not arrested. Instead, their parents are called and they are given a stern warning without having their lives de-railed by a permanent record.

“And they, you know, they talk sternly to them… the kids go home, and they end up going back to Exeter and then Yale and then Harvard Medical School and now they’re doing something else,” Rollins said, referring to the difference between what she sees happen in wealthy communities and what often happens in Black communities.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked in an 11-11 vote along party lines on Rollins' nomination, forcing Democrats to bring the vote to the full Senate. That was after Cotton and Republicans had delayed by a week Rollins’ vote, a rare move. Seven other nominees advanced unanimously; only Rollins — was delayed.

After that delay, a spokesperson for Cotton told GBH News: “Rachel Rollins measures success as a prosecutor not by the number of victims she secures justice for, but by the number of criminals she helps avoid consequences. America needs officials who will ensure the rule of law and stand up for the victims of crime — Rollins has not and will not.”

Despite the complications, Rollins said she is optimistic. “I feel protected and confident with the process moving forward,” Rollins said on BPR, noting that she has received overwhelming support from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey. “We knew this wasn’t going to be easy.”

On the Tyrone Clark case

Rollins said her office is “moving forward on righting this wrong” in the Tyrone Clark case, in which a 66-year-old Massachusetts man was charged almost 50 years ago with rape. This year, the accuser, who is a white woman, came forward with concerns that she may have misidentified Clark, who is Black, in 1973.

“I want to make sure we take a moment to acknowledge the bravery and character of this person who came forward decades later to say that they weren’t sure about this identification,” Rollins said, noting that eyewitness testimony can be “flawed” especially with cross-racial identifications.

Given that the case originated almost 50 years ago, she hopes that the Boston Police has learned from those errors.

“We’re not going to hide it — but we need to recognize that this is not the same Boston Police Department today,” Rollins said. “They do still have some issues, don’t get me wrong — but they are not making those types of errors today [as] nearly 50 years ago.”

On the crisis at “Mass and Cass”

Rollins addressed what she called the “growing crisis” of homelessness and substance abuse at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard in Boston, known as “Mass and Cass.” Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins has proposed housing people struggling with addiction in a former ICE detention facility.

“We are going to have to remove some of the tents in the area — it has just become untenable,” Rollins said, referring to the many temporary shelters that have been set up by those experiencing homelessness in the area. In addition, she called for a more holistic approach that addresses public and mental health concerns to avoid “carceral involvement.”

“We want every option on the table to help these people — because they are people,” she said. “They are loved; they are not forgotten. We have to remember that, and we can’t treat them like a number or a problem, or quite frankly as ‘trash.’”

On the Boston mayoral race

Although she admitted that she voted for Andrea Campbell in the preliminary, Rollins declined to endorse a candidate for the general mayoral election on Nov. 2. She said Michelle Wu is “really bright and thoughtful.”

On Annissa Essaibi George, Rollins said, “I will be very honest, I’m impressed with her work ethic. I think she is grounded in the sense that she knows it takes real work.”

Rollins intends to reach out to both candidates to learn more, especially about how they will involve the Black and Latinx communities in their administration, who some say lost an opportunity for representation after the results of the preliminary election left all three Black candidates off the final ballot.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily true if we can have a truly diverse cabinet in Boston,” Rollins said.

GBH News' Craig LeMoult contributed to this report.