Rep. Barney Frank
(D-Mass.), called a "Homo Communist" on Saturday by protesters opposed to President Barack Obama's health plan, says his GOP colleagues need to do more to "differentiate
themselves" from the hateful speech spewed in the healthcare debate's
Frank, an openly gay lawmaker, had to call the Captiol Police “to move away” five or six protesters who were banging on his office door and shouting through the mail slot.
Lawmakers at work on Capitol Hill for a rare Saturday session endured thousands of energized protesters gathered to show their opposition to the president’s sweeping healthcare reform bill, headed for passage on Sunday.
Frank, a longtime advocate for lesbian and gay rights, called it “unfortunate” that people protesting in the Tea Party event took to spewing “bigoted, abusive, personal things” at him and some African-American members.
“If this was a movement that I was part of, I’d be doing more than I think the Republicans are, to differentiate myself,” Frank said in an interview with The Hill that afternoon.
Then the Financial Services Committee Chairman took a shot at a GOP member of his Financial Services Committee panel, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.).
“Any movement in
which the intellectual leader is Michele Bachmann is obviously going to be
problematic,” Frank said.
Bachmann's office did not comment for this story.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) put out a statement Saturday night condemning the reports.
"Today's protests against health insurance reform saw a rash of despicable, inflammatory behavior, much of it directed at minority Members of Congress," Hoyer said. "According to reports, anti-reform protestors spat on Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, yelled a sexual slur at Rep. Barney Frank, and addressed my dear friend, Rep. John Lewis, with a racial slur that he has sadly heard far too many times.
"...Members of Congress and opinion leaders ought to come to terms with their responsibility for inciting the tone and actions we saw today. A debate that began with false fears of forced euthanasia has ended in a truly ugly scene."
This post was updated at 10:40 p.m.