Two Louisiana congressmen on the hot seat this week
Published 8:51 am Saturday, May 20, 2023
By Jim Beam
Two Louisiana Republican members of Congress were the subject of unflattering news reports this week.
The Mexican ambassador to the United States slammed U.S Sen. John Kennedy for using “vulgar and racist” language. U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins of the 3rd District was caught physically accosting a protester at a news conference.
Kennedy said at a recent Senate hearing that Mexicans “would be eating cat food out of a can” if not for the U.S., according to The Advocate.
Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma wrote in a letter, “I don’t think the people of Louisiana feel represented by the vulgar and racist word you used. You are obliged to offer an apology to your citizens because what you asserted is not worthy of the state of Louisiana, known for being a cultural melting pot.”
The newspaper said four times during a Senate subcommittee hearing that Kennedy suggested the U.S. military or police agencies should cross the border to wipe out the Mexican organized crime cartels that make and smuggle fentanyl.
“This is the way the American people, whose sons and daughters are dying, look at it,” Kennedy said. ‘”Our economy is $23 trillion. Mexico’s economy is $1.3 trillion. Ours is 18 times bigger.
“We buy $400 billion every year from Mexico. Without the people of America, Mexico figuratively speaking, would be eating cat food out of a can, and living in a tent behind an Outback.”
Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard told Mexican media on May 12 that Kennedy’s comments amounted to ”racism against Mexicans, and in general all Spanish speakers.”
Videos filmed by protesters and others show Higgins, 61, grabbing and pushing 25-year-old Jake Burdett while saying, “You’re out. You’re out.”
Higgins didn’t respond to multiple requests of The Advocate for an interview, but tweeted his version of events. He said he was acting in response to “an agitator activist protester” who “became very disruptive and threatening in violation of the law.”
The newspaper said Burdett riddled participants with questions in a video provided by Higgins. Burdett is seen running behind the speakers and asking a GOP congresswoman about her recently filed divorce.
Higgins grabbed Burkett at that point and started pushing him out of the conference. Burkett asked Higgins, “Aren’t you a congressman touching me? … Get off me! Get off me! What are you trying to do, Clay Higgins? You’re a U.S. congressman touching me.”
Two GOP House leaders from Louisiana didn’t respond to questions about what, if any, consequences Higgins might face for manhandling a member of the public on public property.
Meanwhile, Sen. Kennedy, who often makes headlines for his colorful comments, got another response. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Sen. Kennedy “went on an irresponsible tirade,” according to the Washington Examiner. The newspaper said Kennedy worked to make it clear that he and the Louisiana Republican are “neither allied nor related.”
Robert Kennedy is the son of former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, a Democrat from New York, and the younger Kennedy is running for president. Candidate Kennedy said, “Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is neither allied with nor related to John Kennedy from Louisiana, and he deplores his statement. RFK, Jr. understands the futility of blaming Mexico for America’s drug problem,” Kennedy Jr. said.