Rep. Dan Crenshaw

Rep. Crenshaw Apologizes For Calling McCarthy Opponents “Terrorists” During Debate

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TFP File Photo)

Rep. Dan Crenshaw on Sunday apologized for calling opponents to Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy “terrorists” — a group that would include Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Chip Roy of Texas.

The Texas Republican issued the apology on CNN, attributing his smear to the heat of the moment during “intransigent negotiations.”

Last week, as House Republicans debated McCarthy taking over as the new speaker, up to 20 GOP lawmakers, led by Gaetz, held out. They argued for a more conservative choice, and eventually gave in after 15 rounds of voting, and after claiming victory by forcing McCarthy to make several concessions to them.

At one point during the debate, Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, told Fox News that those resisting McCarthy were “terrorists.”

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“Those of us who are standing against this, we’re standing for principle. They are standing for notoriety. They’re standing for that extra news that because nobody ever cares about them, and they’re frustrated by that,” he said in the original interview.

“We can’t give in to this because then they will always run the conference, and they’ll just get another scalp and another scalp,” he added. “We just can’t allow that to happen. That’s why those of us are saying like, look, you pushed us into this corner. So now we’re saying we won’t vote for anyone but McCarthy.”

“That’s why we’re saying it, because we cannot let the terrorists win. That’s basically what’s happening.”

On CNN on Sunday, Crenshaw acknowledged he went too far by using the kind of language that Democrats typically fire at the GOP.

“Things get heated, and things get said. Obviously, to the people who took offense by that, it’s pretty obvious it’s meant as a turn of phrase,” he said.

“I’ve got thick skin. I’m called awful, vile things by the very same wing of the party that I was fighting at that moment. So I was a little taken aback by the sensitivity of it,” he added.

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“But to the extent that I have colleagues that were offended by it, I sincerely apologize to them. I don’t want them to think I actually believe they’re terrorists. It’s certainly a turn of phrase that you use in an intransigent negotiation.”

In response to Crenshaw’s initial comments, Congressman Roy noted, “A little temporary conflict is necessary in this town in order to stop this town from rolling over the American people. Some of the tensions you saw on display, when we saw some of the interactions there between Mike Rogers and Matt Gaetz … we need a little of that.”

Roy was referring to a moment late Friday night when Rogers, an Alabama Republican, lunged at Gaetz and had to be restrained. That came after Gaetz, a Florida Republican, voted “present” and left McCarthy one vote shy of the job, which he got in the ensuing vote.

Appearing on Fox News on Sunday, Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican who was championed by Gaetz, noted, “Sometimes democracy’s messy, but I would argue that’s exactly how the Founders intended it.”

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