‘I didn’t mean it that way’: Crenshaw tries to walk back ‘terrorists’ label for McCarthy holdouts

Now that the contentious battle over leadership of the new GOP-controlled House of Representatives is over with Kevin McCarthy wielding the speaker’s gavel, some lawmakers whose tempers got the best of them are trying to back away from their incendiary rhetoric.

One of them is Rep. Dan Crenshaw who drew strong criticism after suggesting that Republicans who were withholding their support to wring concessions out of McCarthy were the equivalent of al Qaeda, ISIS and other violent extremists.

The Lone Star State Republican’s remarks during a radio interview that “we cannot let the terrorists win,” regarding the 20 holdouts earned him a scolding from the likes of fellow Texan, Senator Ted Cruz and Fox News host Tucker Carlson among others and now that the voting is over, he is trying to walk his poorly thought-out comments back.

Crenshaw appeared on Fox News where he was put on the spot by Neil Cavuto about his parroting DNC talking points to describe his fellow GOP lawmakers.

(Video: Fox News)

Cavuto specifically asked about Cruz’s criticism, drawing a prickly response from Crenshaw who resorted to whataboutism.

“Ted Cruz, I mean he’s called American citizens terrorists multiple times so you know if he really wants to play that game,” he said, effectively defending Black Lives Matter and Antifa insurrectionists whose violent acts had been likened to domestic terrorism by Cruz.

“Look, I do not think these people are terrorists and to the extent that my colleagues took offense to that I’ve gone up to them and said, ‘of course I didn’t mean it that way.’ We were speaking in terms of a very difficult negotiation where sometimes you use a turn of phrase about not giving into terrorists,” said Crenshaw as he tried to extract himself from a mess of his own making.

He then said that Reps. Scott Perry (R-PA)  and Chip Roy (R-TX) who both opposed McCarthy were acting in “good faith” but that he did not agree with them is the length of time it took, fifteen ballots over four days before the leadership issue was settled in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

“The only thing I disagree with them on is how long it could have taken to get to this point,” he said. “This rules package that we’ve agreed on, these processes that we’ve agreed on, these are very agreeable things. They will make it more difficult, but that’s what we want.”

It may not be quite as easy to smooth the waters though, Rep. Crenshaw’s angry rebuttal to Tucker who blasted him as the “snarling face of the donor class” is an indication of how strongly he felt about those who wouldn’t fall in line behind McCarthy.

“Unclutch your pearls. It’s a figure of speech. You can’t insult, slander, and hold everyone hostage with no way out – and not expect me to punch back,” he huffed. “Grow thicker skin.”

It was a retort that drew a brutal response from Twitter users, with one asking the question, “Have you ever called a Democrat a terrorist, you corrupt hack?”

The thin-skinned Crenshaw has already ruffled feathers with his full throated support of shoveling billions of taxpayer dollars into war torn money pit Ukraine along with his feuding with fellow Republicans, most notably Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and it may not that easy to climb down from smearing his colleagues as terrorists as he might think.

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Chris Donaldson

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