Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla., on Tuesday blasted Rep. Steve Cohen for his “disgusting” and “insulting” comments the day before where the Democratic lawmaker ominously suggested that President Trump supporters within the National Guard charged with helping protect Joe Biden “might want to do something” to the president-elect.
Waltz, who is a National Guard colonel and served in the U.S. Army for more than 20 years, noted on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that “it’s the definition of racism to stereotype an entire group based on their skin color and their gender.”
“It’s just offensive all around,” he added, also noting that Cohen’s comments reflect “a real ignorance of how the military thinks and works.”
Waltz, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, made the comments reacting to Cohen’s “shocking” statements on CNN Monday where the Tennessee lawmaker said he had been reminded that former India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own bodyguards and said any Trump supporters within National Guard units were suspicious.
“The [National] Guard is 90 some-odd, I believe, percent male, and only about 20% of white males voted for Biden,” Cohen said. “You’ve got to figure that in the Guard, which is predominantly more conservative … they’re probably not more than 25% of the people that are there protecting us who voted for Biden. The other 75% are in the … large class of folks who might want to do something.”
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CNN’s Jim Sciutto pushed back on Cohen, saying being a Trump voter was “far different from being a threat of violence.” When asked to substantiate his claim of the possible dangers surrounding Biden, Cohen said he had none but added “you draw a circle first” around Trump voters in the Guard who you should be “suspect of.”
“I think every veteran, every Guardsman is offended by those comments,” Waltz said on Tuesday. “It’s not about the person, it’s about the oath they take, the same oath as every member of Congress.”
He went on to note that Guardsmen and women are supporting and defending the Constitution “against all enemies and so one of the things he [Cohen] just doesn’t understand or refuses to is these Guardsmen and women come from their communities, their units are right there in their communities.”
Waltz also said that Cohen “got his facts wrong,” noting there are “about double the amount of women that are in the Guard” and “a higher percentage of African Americans than the national average.”
In an unprecedented show of force, 25,000 National Guard troops have been deployed to Washington, D.C., to protect Biden’s inauguration this week. The city is on edge after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted the certification of Biden’s Electoral College victory and resulted in several deaths. The FBI is vetting Guard service members charged with protecting the Capitol this week.
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“I got to tell you when you’re out there conducting those missions, there is no politics,” Waltz said. “There’s just your brother, your sister, your left, your right and their fellow Americans.”
“You don’t even have a clue who anybody voted for. That doesn’t even come into the equation.”
Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this report.