A House Judiciary Committee hearing today quickly devolved into name-calling and smears as racist dipshit Rep. Matt Gaetz used his time to attack Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC contributor, over charges that he used anti-Semitic and anti-police rhetoric in the past.
Gaetz began his character assassination by hiding behind the words of Sharpton’s MSNBC colleague and former congressman Joe Scarborough, whom Gaetz noted filed a resolution in 2000 condemning “the racist and anti-Semitic views of the Reverend Al Sharpton.” (Scarborough and Sharpton are now publicly friends.)
Sharpton said Scarborough’s then-assertion that he used phrases like “bloodsucking” and “Jew bastards” was “patently untrue,” and he was clearly annoyed by Gaetz’s pugnacious line of questioning, in which the congressman refused to let Sharpton answer the questions put to him.
“Can I finish my answer?” Sharpton interjected at one point. “I thought you raised a question.”
Gaetz, however, seemed decidedly uninterested in actually asking questions of substance, and instead spent nearly nine minutes shouting at Sharpton, who attempted to rebut each of Gaetz’s allegations.
“This has nothing to do with policing,” Sharpton noted at one point, as committee chairman Jerry Nadler attempted to regain control of the proceedings. Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson even earned a round of applause (quickly gaveled into silence) when he interjected to ask whether it was “proper” for a congressperson to repeatedly ask a witness about a “non-germane matter.”
But Gaetz was not deterred in the slightest, and continued to refuse Sharpton the opportunity to answer any questions, despite Sharpton’s repeated attempts to respond.
As Gaetz grew more and more unhinged toward the end of his time, Sharpton—who this past spring described some of the language he’d used during the contentious Crown Heights Riots of 1991 as “cheap”—urged the congressman to “calm down” before an exhausted-sounding Nadler put a stop to this whole thing by decisively objecting to Gaetz’s request to add Scarborough’s nearly two-decade-old resolution to the record.
Really a tremendous moment for this deliberative body of lawmakers. Great work all around.