A bitter exchange took place Wednesday between Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., during a hearing on Obamacare after the Democrat lawmaker implied that people who oppose the healthcare law are driven by racism.
Johnson was responding to an earlier comment by the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, who said some people don’t want Obamacare to work because President Obama is “the wrong color,” CBS News reported.
“I’ve seen a lot of that and I know a lot of that to be true,” Rockefeller said.
When given the opportunity to close out, a visibly angry Johnson called the chairman out for his decision “to play the race card.”
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“I didn’t object to this because of the race of the president,” he said. “I objected to this because it was an assault on our freedom.”
“And Mr. Chairman, I have to admit, I have a great deal of respect for you, but I’m the only one in the room, and I found it very offensive that you’d basically imply that I’m a racist because I oppose this health care law,” Johnson added. “That is outrageous.”
Rockefeller replied that his Republican colleague wanted to go back to a “totally free enterprise” healthcare system.
“You are assuming the wrong thing, Mr. Chairman,” Johnson fired back. “You have implied that I’m a racist. Now you’re saying you want me to go back to a failed health care system. You’re just incorrect.”
Despite his earlier comment, Rockefeller continued to deny that he called Johnson a racist.
“Please don’t assume, don’t make implications of what I’m thinking and what I would really support, Johnson said in closing. “You have no idea.”
“I actually do,” Rockefeller smugly countered. “And you know, God help you.”
“No senator, God help you for implying I’m a racist because I oppose this health care,” Johnson said.
“You lost your temper, I understand that,” the chairman said in return.
“I was called a racist, I think most people would lose their temper, Mr. Chairman,” Johnson replied.
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