House Republican leaders have publicly called on Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) to apologize for his comments today regarding American troops in Iraq or resign from his position.
Stark said the following today on the floor of the House (which can be viewed on video here):
“I yield myself two minutes. Madam speaker, I, first of all, I’m just amazed that they can’t figure out — the Republicans are worried that they can’t pay for insuring an additional 10 million children. They sure don’t care about finding $200 billion to fight the illegal war in Iraq. Where are you going to get that money? Are you going to tell us lies like you’re telling us today? Is that how you’re going to fund the war? You don’t have money to fund the war on children. But you’re going to spend it to blow up innocent people if he can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President’s amusement.”
Congressman Jeb Hensarling immediately issued the following statement:
“Congressman Stark’s comments were hateful and wrong, and should be labeled as such by the House Democrat Leadership. No matter your political position on the war in Iraq or any other issue, it shows a complete disregard for the men and women who have volunteered for military service and the Office of the President to make such an outlandish and asinine statement.
“Congressman Stark’s comments are completely inappropriate for an elected official. He should offer an immediate apology, or he should resign from the office in which he has been entrusted to serve. He owes that to the men and women who have so courageously put their life on the line to serve their country and the families that support them.”
Rep. John Boehener joined in with this:
"Our troops in Iraq are fighting against al-Qaeda and other radical jihadists hellbent on killing the people we are sent here to represent. Congressman Stark’s statement dishonors not only the Commander-in-Chief, but the thousands of courageous men and women of America’s armed forces who believe in their mission and are putting their lives on the line for our freedom and security. Congressman Stark should retract his statement and apologize to the House, our Commander-in-Chief, and the families of our soldiers and commanders fighting terror overseas.”
Republican Whip Roy Blunt said:
“Pete Stark’s statements on the House floor this afternoon crossed all lines of decency and decorum. As a member of Congress, he should be ashamed. But as a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee — and the current chairman of its Health subcommittee — the Democratic leadership ought to be ashamed as well.
“To claim our men and women in Iraq are serving there for the president’s own personal enjoyment — and worse, to suggest he’s actually ‘amused’ by the image of soldiers being killed — represents a crass appeal to the worst, most base elements of our population. It dishonors the continued sacrifice of our troops in the field, and disrespects their family and friends at home who pray for their safe return. The Democratic leadership should denounce these comments immediately, and Mr. Stark should apologize for making them as well.”