A day after a contentious congressional hearing in which he was accused by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) of pushing a “heinous white supremacist ideology,” acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli essentially called the congresswoman a witch.
Appearing on Fox & Friends on Friday morning, Cuccinelli brushed off questions about whether he’s still being considered to head up the Department of Homeland Security by saying he will keep doing his current job “in the face of some people who would rather we are not as successful.”
“Are you referring to Debbie Wasserman Schultz by chance,” co-host Ainsley Earhardt asked, prompting Cuccinelli to say she was “among them.”
The hosts went on to play a video clip from Thursday’s contentious hearing in which the Florida lawmaker claimed the Cuccinelli and President Donald Trump were pursuing a white supremacist policy by denying public benefits to legal immigrants, including children.
“That’s one of those things that politicians can say things because they are protected,” co-host Steve Doocy remarked. “However, you are—as somebody who is serving in the public interests—you have to give facts.”
Cuccinelli insisted that while he was under oath, Wasserman Schultz was “literally protected to lie,” citing the speech and debate clause in the Constitution. He then asserted that she only came into the hearing to make a speech before making his witch allusion.
“She wasn’t at much of the committee hearing,” he said. “She came in, laid on her smears on both me and the president, all completely false. And then wasn’t there much longer, got on her broom and left. It was a fly-by for her and to get a little sound bite.”
The hosts, meanwhile, rather than push back on Cuccinelli’s not-so-veiled sexist insult of a female lawmaker, instead expressed sympathy for the Trump immigration chief.
“She didn’t want you to interrupt her,” Earhardt declared. “And I guess the rules prevent you from doing but she is smearing your reputation and character and saying something you don’t feel like it is true. You have to defend yourself.”
Following Cuccinelli’s Fox & Friends remarks, Wasserman Schultz took to Twitter to respond, calling out the Trump official for trying to “silence outspoken women who speak truth to power.”