For the second time in as many days, Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee used her time during the five-minute speech period on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to attack GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain. On Wednesday, however, she added a new target: Country music star Hank Williams, Jr.
Jackson Lee first explained the need for her call for civility, which she claimed was part of her duties as a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
“I wanted to come to this floor to call for civility and understanding,” she said. “Those are two conflicting terms. But as a member of the Judiciary Committee having the privilege to oversee the Constitution of the United States, I hold very dear the idea of the Bill of Rights which allows our citizens the right to the First Amendment, the right to association and the right to freedom of religion. But sometimes you have to call upon or to explain or to express your abhorrence with ugly speech.”
Then she doubled down on the same sentiments she shared on the House floor Tuesday, attacking Cain and his “brainwashing” remarks on CNN last week.
“So I want to say over the days we had Herman Cain shouting out about brainwashing about a certain people, African-Americans, who I guess he suggests that we are not educated persons and as different as any other population of Americans,” she continued. “The greatness of Americans is that we are mosaic – we are diverse. Though I may challenge the philosophy of the tea party and have great abhorrence to their views, I would never suggest that those individuals didn’t thoughtfully think about who they wanted to associate with. So, again, to Mr. Cain, get your vocabulary straight and understand that we have a brain as well and make choices on our interests.”
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Jackson Lee then took aim to condemn the the country singer’s controversial remarks.
“Then, my good friend, Hank Williams, who I guess professes to be one of America’s great philosophers, and so when he was posed the question about the President of the United States and the Speaker of the House, attempting civility through what a lot of Americans do, playing golf – he chose to use a what I think was both an unhelpful and disgraceful comparison,” she said. “Now, I don’t know who he was calling what, but he used the phrase that it would be like the Prime Minister of Israel meeting with Hitler. And one would have to argue, am I defending the Speaker of the House or the President of the United States? I’m defending the idea that ugly speech should be called out any time it is utilized.”
Jackson Lee elaborated on why the comments were so “unhelpful and disgraceful,” which — according to the Texas congresswoman — ignored the historical facts of Nazi Germany.
“Although I’m sure you have many fans,” she said, “for you to characterize any leader as the dastardly and heinous person that Hitler was or the dastardly and heinous and horrific act that he perpetrated on people who are innocent, from those who happened to be of the Jewish faith, to Polish people, to people of many different backgrounds that lost their lives in this disgraceful era that was led by Hitler during the time that Germany was led by the Nazis. What a disgraceful statement.”
So how did Jackson Lee end her plea for civility?
“I stand for the people who are out in the streets and say you are right,” she said, “and tell Hank Williams to try and write another song that will try to get him a hit so he won’t have to talk so much.”