A lawmaker recently removed from his coveted committee assignment and his colleague who offered the most high-profile defense of that decision spoke about the matter on the House floor Thursday.
But the contents of the conversation are in dispute. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who often takes to Facebook to explain his views on legislation, was recently removed from the House Budget Committee as part of a purge of four rebellious Republicans.
As first reported by CQ Roll Call, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., a member of the Steering Committee, which decided to boot Amash and the others from their committee slots, told members at a closed-door meeting Wednesday that it wasn’t their voting records or fundraising prowess behind the decisions but it was instead an “asshole factor” relating to their cooperativeness to “work within the system.”
Westmoreland told CQ Roll Call he wasn’t calling out any member “in particular” and expressed regret at using the off-color remark at all.
On Thursday, the two spoke face-to-face on the floor.
According to Amash spokesman Will Adams, Amash approached Westmoreland and said, “Lynn, come on, you know I’m not an asshole.” Adams said Westmoreland responded that he was indeed not one and should not have used the word.
However, Leslie Shedd, Westmoreland’s spokeswoman, said Westmoreland “did not apologize to Congressman Amash.”
Shedd declined to characterize the conversation further, saying, “Congressman Westmoreland does not discuss the private conversations he has with other members of Congress.”
Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., another purged lawmaker, also got into the act.
“This conservative purge by GOP leadership is petty and vindictive, so I guess I’m not surprised by the nasty name-calling,” Huelskamp said in a statement.