Wasserman Schultz downplays union chief Hoffa’s anti-Tea Party rhetoric

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) sidestepped questions regarding anti-Tea Party rhetoric on Tuesday, dismissing the controversy as an argument over “language.”

“I know you'd like to focus on language ... that's not what the American people are focused on,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said to host Gretchen Carlson on “Fox and Friends.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The Fox host had asked Wasserman Schultz to respond to the weekend controversy over remarks made by Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, speaking ahead of President Obama at a Labor Day rally in Detroit. Hoffa called for workers to “take these son-of-a-bitches out” in the coming election, after referring to a war between workers and the Tea Party movement.

When pressed for a response, Wasserman Schultz pushed back at the Fox News Channel host. “Really, Gretchen? How many times have you called out coarse language at Tea Party rallies?”

Wasserman Schultz sidestepped further questions by emphasizing that the American people want jobs, not controversy over language. “I know the American people, like President Obama, want to focus on working together,” she said.

Tea Party-affiliated organizations such as Tea Party Express and TheTeaParty.net have called for Hoffa to apologize for the remarks. Tea Party Caucus chairwoman and presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) condemned what she called Hoffa’s “violent rhetoric” against the Tea Party in a campaign email on Monday that also asked for donations to fight back.

Hoffa refused to apologize for the remarks Tuesday on the Bill Press radio show.

It is not the first controversy over anti-Tea Party language this summer. Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) intensified their rhetoric against the movement in meetings at home in their districts during August, leading the lone Republican member of the caucus — Rep. Allen West (Fla.), who is also a member of the Tea Party Caucus — to demand that the CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) condemn the discourse.

West indicated he would press Cleaver for a response this week following the return of Congress to Washington.