Arizona Republican Rep. Eli Crane went there—and now he claims he’s really sorry about that. On Thursday, he stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and, while debating an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, showed his true colors.
“My amendment has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people or anybody can serve,” said the freshman representative. “It has nothing to do with any of that stuff.”
Democrat Joyce Beatty, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was having none of that, and immediately standed up to object. “I find it offensive and very inappropriate,” Beatty said. “I am asking for unanimous consent to take down the words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as ‘colored people.’”
Crane offered to “amend” his statement to “people of color.” Beatty was not having that, either. She said she was asking “to have the words stricken. I didn’t ask for an amendment.” She prevailed, by unanimous consent.
By the way, that’s an official rebuke to Crane by the House. It means he was found in “violation of House rules of decorum.” Crane made the remarks in offering one of those supposedly “color-blind” things Republicans like to do, specifically an effort to end diversity efforts by the Pentagon in recruitment, education, promotion, or personnel retention decisions.
Crane later offered an apology of sorts to a white reporter, Politico’s Olivia Beavers, who tweeted, “Rep. Eli Crane tells me he deeply regrets using the words ‘colored people’ on the House floor yesterday.” He added “he misspoke and is sorry that his words hurt people and is mad at himself that it has blown back on his team.”
That rings pretty damned hollow unless he had the courage and character to offer that apology to Beatty personally, not to mention the other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The caucus responded in a tweet, saying, “This is a shameful moment on the House floor.”
“Rep. Eli Crane referring to Black service members who risk their lives for our country as ‘colored people’ is unconscionable,” the caucus continued. “The GOP fights against diversity, equity and inclusion training and prove everyday why it’s necessary.”