Some have called Teamsters President James Hoffa’s Monday remarks ill-advised, but he isn’t backing away and, instead, is claiming to have gotten a positive response from his members.
The controversy erupted when Hoffa told a cheering crowd at a Labor Day celebration attended by President Obama, “We are at war! . . . President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march . . . Let’s take these sons of bitches out, and give America back to an America where we belong.”
In a cable TV appearance on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Tuesday, Hoffa told host Ed Schultz about the response and how his tough-sounding tack has resonated.
“The phones rang off the hook at all of our locals today,” Hoffa said. “The members are calling in. Finally, somebody’s standing up for us. Somebody’s saying what has to be said. We’re tired of this namby-pamby talk that’s out there. Let’s go out and call these people what they are. Let’s go after the issue of voting. Let’s talk about the war on workers. And let’s make sure we mobilize and vote in November. It was a tremendous response today. The phones rang off the hook in tremendous support from working families.”
Schultz asked Hoffa if he really thought “the Republicans are sons of bitches,” and Hoffa doubled down.
“I think they are, if they’re trying to take food out of the mouth of working people,” Hoffa declared. “What kind of a person does that? What kind of a person tries to take away collective bargaining from public employees, from firemen, from policemen, from teachers? What kind of person wants to go in and take away their pensions? You know what? That’s a bad person, and that’s the kind of people we’re talking about, because that is the war on workers. The war on workers started January of this year. The minute those people got in, one of the first things they did was to introduce right to work in 14 states almost simultaneously. That is the Tea Party, and that’s their agenda. I’m very proud of what we did.”
Hoffa also had some choice words about Fox News, which played his comments throughout the day on Tuesday.
“Well, I think Fox is really a parallel universe. You watch that, and you really wonder what world they’re in. They’re anti-worker. They’re anti-Obama. They talk about right to work. They just completely spin out a complete different reality than what you and I see. You watch other networks, they’re not talking about what they’re talking about. And the people they have in, the Glenn Becks, the O’Reillys, you know, and those people – they’re so anti-Obama, anti-the Democratic Party, anti-workers, anti-people. And basically, what do they talk about? Oh, we got to take away those entitlements.”
He said he believed spreading the allegation that entitlements are under threat from Fox News is important.
“Taking away Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. You know, when you tell people that’s what the war is about – they say, well, we’re not going to vote for them. But that’s the message we have to deliver to make sure we take away all this rhetoric and say ‘those people want to take away what we believe is important to every American – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid.’ When you get old and you work hard, you work for 40 or 50 years, you’re entitled to those things.”