Dems Slam GOP Congressman for Using 'Offensive' Term

Arizona Rep. Eli Crane earned House rebuke for calling Black Americans 'colored people' in debate
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2023 10:18 AM CDT
GOP Congressman: I 'Misspoke' When I Said 'Colored People'
Rep. Eli Crane, is introduced by former President Donald Trump as Trump speaks at a rally on July 22 in Prescott, Arizona.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A freshman Republican congressman received an official rebuke on Thursday for the way he referenced Black Americans during a floor debate. The incident happened Thursday as GOP Rep. Eli Crane of Arizona tried to promote an amendment he'd proposed to the National Defense Authorization Act, one in which the Pentagon would be barred from mandating diversity and inclusion training, including on topics related to race. Ohio Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, took to the floor to push back on Crane's proposal.

"I'm old enough to remember when Black officers, when women, were not allowed to serve," she noted, per the Hill. "You are setting us back." Beatty then added: "On this floor on both sides of the aisle we have people of color, we have people who have served." Crane defended his amendment, pushing back on what he called "woke" concepts in the military and noting that the military was "never intended to be inclusive." "Its strength is not its diversity, its strength is its standards," he said.

But it was another of Crane's statements that really raised Beatty's ire: The amendment, he stressed, "has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people or anybody can serve." After Crane had finished speaking, Beatty called his remarks "offensive and very inappropriate" and asked the chamber's presiding officer to strike from the official record "words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as colored people." Crane tried to amend his remarks in the record to say "people of color," but Beatty didn't want an alteration, and the presiding officer consented to her request for a removal.

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Reaction to Crane's words was swift. "You can't make this up," tweeted Rep. Jasmine Crockett, a current member of the Black Caucus. "This is who these people are, and who they've always been." "Unconscionable," the caucus itself posted. "The GOP fights against diversity, equity and inclusion training and prove [every day] why it's necessary." Later Thursday, Crane issued a statement trying to smooth over what he'd said. "In a heated floor debate on my amendment that would prohibit discrimination on the color of one's skin in the armed forces, I misspoke," he wrote. "Every one of us is made in the image of God and created equal." NBC notes that his amendment was adopted by the House in a 214-210 vote later Thursday evening. (More House Republicans stories.)

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