Disabled war veteran Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) slammed CNN host Jake Tapper on Wednesday after Tapper called out Mast’s “commitment” to American democracy after Mast asked whether members of Congress had questioned individuals involved in last week’s riot before initiating impeachment this week.
“On January 6th, thousands broke the law by taking siege of our capital here with us inside. Has any one of those individuals who brought violence on the capital, been brought here to answer whether they did that because of our president?” Mast asked on the House floor, which was highlighted during an interview that he did Thursday morning on Fox News. “It appears I will receive no answer. I will yield my time back.”
Tapper responded to Mast’s remark, saying on live television, “Congressman Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida, who lost his legs, by the way, fighting for democracy abroad, although I don’t know what his—I don’t know about his commitment to it here in the United States.”
"Congressman Brian Mast… who lost his legs by the way fighting for democracy abroad, although I don't know — about his commitment to it here in the United States" pic.twitter.com/GidrZHUzOe
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) January 13, 2021
Mast initially responded by writing on Twitter: “I lost two legs for @jaketapper’s right to say whatever the hell he wants, but that free speech also protects the Republicans he is so eager to condemn for asking Constitutional questions about the election.”
During his interview on Fox News this morning, Mast said that the message he wanted to deliver on the House floor was:
The message was simple. You have 430 plus members of Congress, they’re responsible for making the highest laws in the land that pertain to all-Americans and they are about to vote one way or another on whether the president incited other people to do something and there wasn’t one of those members that could say they heard any questioning of the people that were said to be incited. Nobody was asked do you do this because of the president? Do you do it because of something he said he year ago or something something Giuliani said on January 6th? Did you go there because of the president but violence was your own thing? Did he tell you to be peaceful? Nobody can say they spoke to one of those individuals and that has to be the most dangerous precedent for this body to set to say if you are an American out there this is how we are going to hold you accountable for inciting somebody else. We’re not going to bother to ask any questions at all, we’re just going to jump to a conclusion and rush to judgment. That is totally un-American, wholly in opposition to the due process that every American is owed.
Mast was also asked to respond to Tapper’s remarks, to which he responded, “I’m going to say to Mr. Tapper the same thing that half of America is saying right now: Hold me to a high standard, don’t hold me to a double standard.”
“And me asking if any of these lawmakers that are about to vote have gone through any questioning, any hearings, and asked any questions of anybody, that’s an appropriate question and it speaks to the foundation of our democracy. It doesn’t diminish it,” he continued. “And I would give this statement to him as well, it is not as important in America, especially today with all the division that we have, that I say this is what I think about you. We got to get to the point that we’re saying, this is why I think something, now I can say this is why I think you’re wrong and we can have a real debate and hopefully you end up learning something about each other instead of just coming away with two people that are pissed off at one another.”
When further pressed by one of the co-hosts on Fox & Friends about how he felt about what Tapper said, Mast said, “My commitment to democracy, to my country, is unwavering.”
“I love this place so much. It literally breaks my heart to see the divide that exists in it. I love our democracy,” he continued. “For all of our problems, there is no government that I would rather be a part of anywhere in this world. And to strengthen that and keep it strong, we have to ask those questions. It’s not the opposite of that where we don’t ask those questions, don’t ask lawmakers, ‘did you take the time to ask somebody or interview somebody or have a hearing?’ That has to be the foundation of having justice. It’s asking questions and waiting for the answer in silence until somebody gives it to you or taking their silence as an answer. That’s my response to him, I love this place.”