(CNSNews.com) - In a speech before Al Sharpton's National Action Network on Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder hinted that racism accounts for the way he was treated in his appearance before a congressional committee the day before.
Holder was speaking about civil rights and the "ongoing struggle," when he departed from his prepared script (see below) to complain about "unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity."
"Forget about me. Forget about me," Holder said. "You look at the way the Attorney General of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. Had nothing to do with me, forget about that! What attorney general's ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"
Holder was referring to his testy exchange with Rep. Louis Gohmert at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday:
Gohmert complained that his request for certain documents had not been satisfied:
“Sir, I’ve read you what your department promised, and it is inadequate, and I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight,” Gohmert told Holder, who is the first U.S. attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over documents pertaining to the fast and furious gun-running scandal.
Holder responded, “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, okay?”
Gohmert: “I don’t want to go there?”
Gohmert: “About the contempt?”
Holder: “You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me. I think that it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust, but never think that that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”
Gohmert: “Well I’m just looking for evidence, and normally we’re known by our fruits, and there have been no indications that it was a big deal, because your department has still not been forthcoming in producing the documents that were the subject of the contempt.”
Holder: “The documents that we were prepared to make available then, we’re prepared to make available now that would have obviated the whole need. This was all about the gun lobby and a desire to have a—
Gohmert: “Sir, we’ve been trying to get to the bottom of Fast and Furious where people died, where at least a couple hundred Mexicans died, and we can’t get the information to get to the bottom of that, so I don’t need lectures from you about contempt, because it is very difficult to deal with asking questions.”
Holder: “And I don’t need lectures from you either.”
Here is a partial transcript of Holder's speech to the National Action Network, with his heated ad-libs in bold.
And since the day I became Attorney General in 2009, I have been proud to stand alongside you in supporting efforts to advance the cause of justice that has always been at the center of this Administration's work. I'm pleased to note that the last five years have been defined by significant strides and lasting reforms -- even in the face -- even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity."
And if you don't believe that -- you look at the (inaudible)-- Forget about me. Forget about me. You look at the way the attorney general of the United States was treated yesterday by a House committee. Had nothing to do with me, forget about that. What attorney general's ever had to deal with that kind of treatment? What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?"
Holder went on to speak about the voting rights.
President Obama will address Al Sharpton's National Action Network on Friday.
Holder to Gohmert on Contempt: ‘You Don’t Want to Go There, Buddy’