Issa Apologizes to Cummings, but Accuses Him of ‘Hissy Fit’ (Updated)
Updated March 7, 6:20 p.m. | In an interview with his local newspaper, Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa said he has apologized to Rep. Elijah E. Cummings for cutting off his microphone at a Wednesday hearing — although in a separate interview he told Fox News that Cummings had a “hissy fit” and “broke the decorum of the House.”
“Mr. Cummings is a member of Congress who works very hard for his constituents,” Issa told U-T San Diego after the House voted 211-186 on party lines to shelve a resolution offered by Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge to condemn Issa’s actions . Fudge also wrote to Speaker John A. Boehner asking the Ohio Republican to strip Issa of his gavel over his treatment of Cummings , D-Md.
Boehner had backed Issa and said he was within his rights to adjourn the hearing. Issa, R-Calif., said he could have offered to reopen the hearing after he adjourned it to allow Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the panel, to make his statement.
“As chairman, I should have been much more sensitive to the mood of what was going on, and I take responsibility,” said Issa, who the paper described as chastened.
The apology was a turnabout from Wednesday, when Issa told CQ Roll Call that Cummings owed him an apology. Issa also sounded far less apologetic in an interview he taped with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly before he apologized to Cummings later Thursday. Issa said Cummings “decided to have quite a hissy fit. The truth is, if he wants to talk I give him lots of time to talk.”
Asked if he would apologize, Issa said, “I broke no rules and he broke the decorum of the House.”
Cummings issued a statement late Thursday.
“This evening, Chairman Issa telephoned me and apologized for his conduct, and I accepted his apology,” he said. “My sincere hope is that as we move forward, we will respect the opinions of all members of the committee, we will proceed in a deliberate and considered manner to obtain the facts, we will refrain from making accusations that have no basis in fact, and we will seek resolution rather than unnecessary conflict.”
The pair talked about how each of them could do a better job and also about whistleblower legislation Cummings has offered and Issa will co-sponsor, the San Diego paper reported.
Earlier Thursday, Cummings said several other Republicans on the panel had approached him and apologized for Issa’s behavior.
Here’s the video of the Cummings-Issa dustup: