A freshman Oklahoma Tea Party congressman called a constituent’s comments about how President Obama “should be executed” inappropriate, but said that free speech at a town hall shouldn’t be attributed to him.
The YouTube video began making the rounds last week. In it, a woman tells the congressman, “Obama, he’s not president, as far as I’m concerned, he should be executed as an enemy combatant.”
Bridenstine didn’t directly address the woman’s comments, saying, “Everybody knows the lawlessness of this president. He picks and chooses which laws he’s going to enforce or not enforce, he does it by decree.”
After criticism last week that he didn’t respond to the woman about her execution comment, Bridenstine issued a statement: “A public figure cannot control what people say in open meetings. I obviously did not condone and I do not approve of grossly inappropriate language. It is outrageous that irresponsible parties would attribute another person’s reckless remarks to me.”
Tea Party groups had been trying to recruit Bridenstine to run for Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) seat, but he declined at the end of January.
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins said Bridenstine needs to apologize to Obama.
“Just three days ago, someone was arrested for threatening to kill President George Bush. It is absolutely astonishing that a sitting United States Congressman would encourage and support that type of behavior,” Collins said in a statement. “As an Oklahoman I am appalled that someone would threaten the Commander-in-Chief–Republican or Democrat. Congressman Bridenstine owes the President an apology, the country an apology and the people of Oklahoma an apology.”
On Friday, New York resident Benjamin Smith was arrested after allegedly threatening to “kill, kidnap and inflict bodily harm” on Bush. “Bush will get his,” Smith allegedly screamed as he was being taken into custody.