WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton ripped House Democrats on Thursday for what he claimed was “fake outrage” over Republican efforts to investigate the deadly assault on the U.S. Diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.
House Republicans pushed through a resolution establishing a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attack, claiming the Obama administration has obstructed their earlier efforts. The vote was 232-186, with no Republican in opposition and seven Democrats in support.
“Forgive me if I don’t join my Democratic colleagues in sharing in their fake outrage. Four Americans lost their lives that night in Benghazi. They deserve justice. The American people deserve the truth,” said Cotton, R-Dardanelle.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he was compelled to request a select committee because of actions by the White House to mislead Congress and the American people about what occurred.
Democrats voiced opposition to forming a select committee, saying it is a partisan witch hunt and expressing outrage that the National Republican Congressional Committee was using the issue in a fundraising solicitation.
“Oppose this cynical, exploitative, political ploy that is not worthy of this House,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va.
Cotton, R-Dardanelle, was given a few minutes to speak on the House floor and opened by saying that for two years President Obama had covered up his “failure of leadership” by stonewalling Congress.
“Not any more,” Cotton said. “We will now get to the truth.”
Cotton then spoke against House Democrats, implying that they had stood silent as others attacked U.S. soldiers — including himself — while they served in Iraq.
“When I was leading troops in Iraq in 2006, men and women were being shot at and blown up by al Qaeda. Where was the outrage as they fundraised endlessly off the Iraq War? Where was the outrage as they viciously attacked our commanders? Where was the outrage when they said that soldiers were war criminals? Where was the outrage when they said the war was lost? Where was the outrage when they said that only high school dropouts joined the Army?” he asked.
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., dismissed Cotton’s charge.
“I would be outraged too if anybody did the things that he accused us of doing and I don’t believe a word of it,” she said on the floor.
Reps. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, and Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, supported the creation of the select committee. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, did not vote.
“The American public deserve to know the unvarnished truth, and so far the oversight has been insufficient,” Womack said.
Griffin said that recent findings that the administration withheld email correspondence from Congress brings into question their previous responses on issues related to the Benghazi attack.
“The families and loved ones of the victims deserve justice, and the [Obama] Administration must be held accountable,” he said.
Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, also voted for the select committee.
“By establishing this select committee, we are committing to the families who lost loved ones during the attack, and to the American people, that answers will be found,” Mullin said.
Boehner announced last week that he would seek a select committee chaired by former prosecutor Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Last week, Judicial Watch published an email written in the wake of the attack in which Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes advised that during Sunday talk show appearances then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice should emphasize the impact an Internet video had on protests and not broader policy failures.
The White House insists it has cooperated with Congress, which has already issued five separate reports on Benghazi and conducted seven different investigations.
Cotton’s floor speech can be viewed on the Internet at the following link: