In Florida, he was labeled the “Yosemite Sam” of politics for his support for open carry legislation, in Washington, D.C., Rep, Matt Gaetz (R) is making a name for himself as one of the toughest “hombres” in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rep. Gaetz (R) is known for his House Judiciary Committed theatrics that leave Democrats shaking their heads and scurrying to object to what the Florida congressman had just stated, which is usually some sort of substantiated critique or accusation of them.
Gaetz’s most recent victim in the Judiciary Committee was none other than the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was testifying before the committee as a police brutality “expert.”
Gaetz’s line of questioning was entirely directed at Sharpton’s alleged use of “racist and anti-Semitic views” as stated in a 2000 resolution introduced by former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough.
The exchange was nothing less than epic, as the NY Post posted the back-and-forth:
“Gaetz peppered Sharpton with a barrage of questions on whether the quotes from the resolution are true, including referring to members of the Jewish faith as “bloodsucking Jews and Jew bastards.”
“They are patently untrue. I never said that,” Sharpton said, noting that he and Scarborough are now close and appear together on MSNBC shows.
“Have you ever referred to members of the Jewish faith as ‘white interlopers’ or ‘diamond merchants’?” Gaetz continued, citing the Scarborough resolution.
“No sir,” said Sharpton, explaining he’s made comments in the past about one individual in Harlem who “I didn’t even know was Jewish.”
Democrats rallied to Sharpton’s defense and accused Gaetz of badgering the witness with inappropriate questions not germane to the hearing on policing.
“This is an outrage,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas).
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) pounded the gavel at many points to restore order but said he can’t object to the “obnoxious” questioning because members of Congress are afforded “wide latitude” on how they use their allotted time.
Gaetz said the comments are “highly relevant.”
“Rev. Sharpton has come before the House Judiciary Committee as a purported expert on policing,” Gaetz said, “and yet his bigoted statements undermine the bipartisan work we should be doing to ensure that all citizens are able to come together and have safe communities.”
Sharpton seemed to enjoy the tussle and said he’ll answer questions because he’s not
Sharpton also said he doesn’t remember marching next to a protester in Crown Heights carrying a sign that read: “The White Man is the Devil.”
Gaetz cut off Sharpton from explaining.
“First of all, this has nothing to do with policing,” Sharpton pushed back. “And if he wants to make the subject Joe Scarborough and I, let me answer it.”
“Have you ever referred to African Americans who disagree with you as ‘cocktail sip Negroes,’” Gaetz asked.
“I have,” Sharpton admitted.
“Have you ever referred to African Americans who disagree with you as ‘yellow’ and then the ‘N’ word,” Gaetz asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve referred to people as names, I don’t know if it’s because they disagree with me. I have said things about blacks and whites. I’m glad you made it clear that I don’t only attack whites. Thank you for that,” Sharpton said.
Gaetz pressed on, asking whether Sharpton had said, “I’m in hell already, I’m in Israel.”
“Yeah,” Sharpton said.
Gaetz continued and started talking over Sharpton, who was trying to explain.
“Calm down. You’re yelling,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton admitted to using some “graphic” language in the past — “some of which I’ve grown beyond.”
”I am an equal-opportunity attacker and I’m glad that Joe Scarborough and I both are equal-opportunity attackers that now work together,” he said”