Taking Issue With Comments Made by Fellow Member of Congress
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Edwards] is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, in my 5 years at this House I have very rarely come to the well of this great body to criticize the comments of one of my colleagues. I have great respect for the bipartisan and diverse views of all Members of this House, and their right to express the views and concerns and ideas of the people they represent in their respective districts.
But once in a while, a Member of this House makes a comment that is so irresponsible and so outrageous that I simply cannot remain silent. Yesterday one of my colleagues from Texas, the gentleman from Texas, [Mr. Paul] made a statement that I feel is so irresponsible that in good conscience I simply cannot remain silent.
In his statement on C-SPAN's Washington Journal yesterday Mr. Paul said this:
I fear and there are a lot of people in this country who fear they may be bombed by the Federal Government at another Waco. I mean, these people committed no crimes.
Mr. Speaker, it is astounding to me that a member of this Federal Government, a Member of this Congress, would say publicly that he fears being bombed by the Federal Government. My fear is that kind of statement made by a public official of this Congress simply expands the hysterical paranoia of those around this country who might be hiding in their closets thinking that the Federal Government is somehow going to bomb them in the sanctity of their private homes.
I think that is sheer lunacy, at best. At worst, it could create and engender the kind of hatred toward our Federal Government that leads to tragedies such as that we all sadly witnessed in Oklahoma City.
Second, as the Member of Congress who represents Waco and the Waco area, and as someone who watched and followed very carefully the proceedings and the tragedy of the Branch Davidian compound, I must say that I am astounded that the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Paul], a Member of this House, would say, despite all of the facts on the table, would suggest that the Branch Davidians and David Koresh committed no crimes.
At best, that is flat wrong and denies the fact and reality. At worst, it is a misrepresentation intentionally of what was done there.
Let me say what the facts were. The facts were that David Koresh raped a 10-year-old girl. We heard that dramatic testimony of that girl, now 14, just a few months ago in the Halls of this House.
Fact: The Federal officials who went into that compound found 48 illegal machine guns and illegal hand grenades.
I would suggest to the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Paul] that the possession of 48 illegal machine guns and illegal hand grenades, I would suggest rape, arson, and murder are a crime in the book of every American family, if it is not a crime in the book of the gentleman from Texas.
I think these statements, Mr. Speaker, deserve a response to the people of Waco, to the people of Mr. Paul's district, and to the people of this country. I would like to hear him explain his comments that he lives in fear of the Federal Government bombing him, and I would like to hear him explain how, despite all of the clear facts, the facts that the Branch Davidians lit the fires that killed, tragically, those children near Waco, I would like to hear him explain away those facts.
Instead of saying, perhaps I made a misstatement, or I apologize for what I said, or I did not intend to say that, when Mr. Paul responded to my response yesterday in the Houston Chronicle he accused me of McCarthyism. Mr. Speaker, I hardly believe that saying that arson, rape, and murder is a crime in this country is anything close to McCarthyism. He went on to defend his contention that the Davidians had committed no crimes.
I would challenge the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Paul], to meet with me in the well of this House during special orders and let us debate this. I believe good people of good will, both Republicans and Democrats alike, who look at the statements of the gentleman from Texas will see that they were irresponsible and dangerous to have been made by a public Member of this House.