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‘Oh, you f—ing a**hole’: Hot mic catches what Dem chair really thinks of GOP Rep’s time on the floor

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U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Democratic chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was caught on a hot mic Wednesday using profanity to express his frustration with U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R- Fla., which may help explain why average Americans are at each other’s throats when it comes to politics.

The panel was engaged in a heated debate Wednesday on airlines enforcing vaccine mandates and the chairman from Oregon took issue with several amendments introduced by Mast, claiming they were “a little bit off base” — the GOP lawmaker’s amendments “would bar the Federal Aviation Administration or airlines from implementing vaccine mandates for their contractors or employees to a bill that would fund the airline industry in the instance of a government shutdown,” Fox News reported.

When Mast tried to respond to DeFazio’s concerns, he replied, “You’ve already wasted time and you’ll waste more.”

“We’ve got a lot of whacked out people in this country that are killing people, plain and simple,” DeFazio said. “In 3 counties in the southern part of my district, deep red counties, vaccines rates of 40%, people have died waiting to get into the ICU.”

When U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, yielded his time to Mast for a second time, giving him the floor, an impatient DeFazio was caught on a hot mic saying, “Oh, you f***ing a**hole.”

National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Courtney Parella called for an immediate apology from the Democrat.

“Peter DeFazio’s comments about a decorated combat veteran are absolutely disgraceful. DeFazio should be ashamed of himself and apologize immediately,” Parella told Fox News.

A U.S. Army veteran, Mast lost both of his legs while serving as an explosive ordnance disposal technician in Afghanistan in 2010.

Mast would give an impassioned speech insisting that the “most fundamental job” Congress has is protecting the rights of the individual and that debating that matter is the “most important debate” they could have.

An excited Roll Call reporter Jessica Wehrman tweeted a quote from Mast on DeFazio’s hot mic comment, “I just want to say thank you for the compliment,” with the journalist adding, “What a time to be alive, you guys!”

DeFazio defended his offensive remark in a statement to the media.

“I get passionate when it comes to protecting jobs and worker safety and I call it like I see it,” the committee chairman said. “I was fighting for a bipartisan bill that protects the jobs of Federal Aviation Administration workers from government shutdowns and Congressman Mast was trying to derail the Committee’s work with multiple anti-vax amendments that put aviation worker jobs, health, and safety at risk.”

“Maybe I should watch my language but I won’t back down when it comes to safe vaccines or protecting American jobs,” he added.

In responding to the remark from Mast about taking his slam as a compliment, Wehrman shared this quote: “I certainly apologize to the gentleman, but if he considers a compliment, I’ll leave it in place.”

Tom Tillison

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