Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, is known for frequently making controversial comments. He was criticized earlier this month for an odd reference to the Jewishness of philanthropist George Soros, and he also once alleged a conspiracy by women to birth “terror babies” inside the United States.
Gohmert continued the theme of shocking comments during a Congressional hearing Thursday, in which he drew an analogy between children separated at the border from their parents, and the adult children of convicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
“I’m always glad to fill in the gaps of people’s knowledge or ignorance in a particular area,” Gohmert said in an open hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, as reported by Business Insider. “So let me just state for those who are not aware… parents are separated from children every single day of every year, year after year… and parents who have probable cause, they committed a crime, are separated from their children and those are usually US citizens.”
He then gave the example of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, in reference to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“I know [Mueller is] a hero to some folks around here, he did it to Manafort, separated him from his two beautiful children. It happens,” Gohmert said. He went on to defend the Department of Homeland Security against what he described as attacks by the Democrats.
Rep Gohmert on child separation policy. Mueller separated Manafort from his children. It happens. So what's the problem? pic.twitter.com/PiFuAqSAkn— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 20, 2018
Paul Manafort’s two daughters are rather unlike minors separated from their migrant parents at the border. For one thing, they are both adults. For another, they are somewhat on the outs with their father. One reportedly changed her name to distance herself from her father, and the other has described Manafort as “a sick f**king tyrant.”
Gohmert’s comments came as the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was testifying before the Judiciary Committee about the since-abandoned family separation policy and other issues.
Manafort, who spent years as an international political fixer, served as President Trump’s campaign manager for several months in 2016. He was indicted by the special counsel last year and convicted this summer on charges of tax fraud and bank fraud. Manafort then reached an agreement to plead guilty to remaining charges and cooperate with Mueller. However, Mueller’s office said last month that Manafort had lied repeatedly in the course of his cooperation.
The president has said on multiple occasions that he believes Manafort has been treated unfairly.