Texas Democrat: Congressman had a right to call Texas a 'crazy state'

Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeJackson Lee: 'Racism is a national security threat' Most oppose cash reparations for slavery: poll Poll: Most Americans oppose reparations MORE (D-Texas) suggested her Democratic colleague and close friend, Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings, had a right to call the Lone Star State a “crazy state” in which he will never live.

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“In debate, our speeches are colorful, and I know he likes Texans because he likes me,” Jackson Lee said during a brief interview.

“I’m not going to comment on members’ oratorical expressions on the floor — they are protected and privileged,” she continued. “And I’m going to leave it at that.”

Hastings, a Florida Democrat, infuriated Texas Republicans this week when he disparaged the Lone Star State during a Rules Committee debate over a bill to repeal ObamaCare.

Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessHouse approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour The 27 Republicans who voted with Democrats to block Trump from taking military action against Iran GOP rep: Children are free to leave migrant camps at 'any time' MORE (R-Texas), a fellow panel member, fired back that Hastings had impugned the people and governor of his home state, saying he would “await the gentleman's apology."

But Hastings didn’t budge. The 22-year congressman retorted that he wouldn’t live in Texas “for all the tea in China.”

"You will wait until hell freezes over for me to say anything in an apology," Hastings said. "I would apologize to you, if I was directing my comments to you. I was commenting about the state that you happen to be a resident of. So I will not apologize."

Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, also a Texas Republican, missed the exchange because he had briefly stepped out of the room. But he joined 23 other Texas Republicans in issuing a four-word statement aimed at Hastings:

“Don’t mess with Texas.”

The Hastings-Burgess spat caught the eye of Jon Stewart at Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” He devoted an entire segment to it Wednesday night dubbed “Southern Slam.”

“We are run by children,” Stewart said.