Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday castigated House Republicans for their treatment of him.
During a speech in front of a civil rights group founded by Al Sharpton, Holder said the administration has made significant strides "even in the face, of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity."
Holder was referring to his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday in which he faced a number of testy exchanges with Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
The attorney general has battled for most of his term with House Republicans over a range of issues. A fight over the "fast and furious" gun-tracking program led to him being held in contempt by the House.
On Wednesday, when Gohmert said Holder didn't care about the contempt vote, the attorney general told the congressman "not to go there."
He said he cared very much about being placed in contempt, and that he thought it was "unjust" and "inappropriate."
Eventually, the two men each said they didn't need a lecture from the other.
Holder's speech mostly focused on his efforts to promote voting rights and ease mandatory sentences; the remarks about the House Republicans strayed from his prepared remarks. They did not show up in a prepared text released before his speech.
The attorney general touched on steps the Justice Department has taken since the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Voting Rights Act, and he hailed the department's initiative to ease mandatory prison sentencing for low-level drug crimes and steps to fight the disproportionally high percentage of minorities in prison.
He also touched on his experience facing racial profiling growing up as a black man in the United States.
"I couldn’t help but think of my father just a couple of years ago when I sat down to convey the same message to my own teenage son after the shooting of Trayvon Martin — a conversation I hoped I’d never have to have," he said in his prepared remarks.
President Obama is scheduled to speak at the conference on Friday.