Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert said Sen. John McCain "supported al Qaeda and rebels" in Syria while speaking at the Values Voter Summit on Friday. Gohmert accused the Vietnam veteran of supporting the enemy to explain why Republicans shouldn't listen when McCain says the GOP can't win the government shutdown. (Recent polls show the GOP is being crushed in the government shutdown.)
"I heard just before I came some senator from Arizona," Gohmert said, a slight referring to McCain that brought out some audience laughter. "A guy that liked Qadaffi before he wanted to bomb him, a guy that liked Mubarak before he wanted him out, a guy that's been to Syria and supported Al-Qaeda and rebels." Finally, he gets to his main point. "But he was saying today 'The shutdown has been a fool's errand.' And I agree with him. The President and Harry Reid should not have shut this government down," he said to applause.
Disagreeing with McCain's Syria policy is fine, but he still is a Vietnam war veteran and obviously not a backer of al Qaeda. Republicans have been parading around veterans all this week since their invasion of a closed World War II memorial during the shutdown, but apparently not all veterans deserve Gohmert's respect.
The comment isn't that out of the ordinary for Gohmert, who has gained fame internationally with outrageous comments like this, particularly in Egypt. During the height of the Egyptian crisis this summer, Egyptian conspiracy theorists pointed to Gohmert's speech on the House floor to argue that the U.S. sought the destruction of Egypt. For example, one YouTube video of Gohmert was titled, in Arabic, "Congressman exposes Obama's support for the Muslim Brotherhood." Gohmert has also exclaimed that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the government.
The New York Times' David Firestone noted a few days ago that debt ceiling denier Rep. Ted Yoho had taken control of the "jaw-dropping" inflammatory quote from Louie Gohmert and Steve King. Not so fast, Gohmert said today.