By Jordy Yager and Bob Cusack - 03/12/10 05:16 PM EST
Members of Congress are being “punished” as a result of the notorious “gate crashing” security breach at the White House last year, according to a Texas Republican.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) took to the House floor Friday to give a lengthy complaint about having to walk a block in the rain through heavy security Thursday to visit the White House.
Security is tighter “not because Secret Service messed up or the armed guards that are now doubled in number, but because somebody in the White House staff screwed up,” he said.
“Now they’re deciding to punish members of Congress and law-abiding citizens that normally just get in.”
He described the White House as a “circus” run by “clowns,” and said lawmakers were being unfairly punished for Tareq and Michaele Salahi's crashing a White House party last year.
He eventually worked healthcare into his comments, stating he did not want the people handling the Salahi incident to be handling healthcare reform.
Gohmert’s comments come more than three months after the Salahis passed Secret Service security to attend President Barack Obama’s first state dinner.
While the Secret Service officially accepted blame for the
incident, many lawmakers pointed fingers at the White House’s former Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. Despite requests from Congress, the White House did
not allow her to testify in hearings it held on the incident.
Rogers resigned from her position last month, saying she wanted to pursue other professional opportunities.
Gohmert called the White House’s handling of the incident “incompetent.”
“The point here is that this is a circus over there,” he said. “Nobody seems to know what’s going on and when accountability was demanded and the social secretary was requested by members of Congress to come testify, they said we’re not going to let you come testify.
“It is a circus going on over there and now the people of the circus want to be in charge of your healthcare. Good grief, it’s time to say we don’t want clowns in charge of something as important as our healthcare. I don’t even want them in charge of algae blooms.”
Gohmert said that before the “gate crashing” incident, the
White House used to require 24-hour notice from members of Congress to run
security checks using their Social Security number and date of birth. But since
the incident, members of Congress have to provide 48 hours' notice, he said.
A White House spokesman referred questions of its security measures to the Secret Service, which did not immediately return requests for comment.