In a video uncovered by Scott Dworkin, co-founder of the activist Democratic Coalition group, California congressional rep Devin Nunes is seen defending the use of the racial epithet "n****r" against his congressional colleague, Georgia rep John Lewis. Nunes made the comments in a 2010 C-Span interview, in response to a question about a "Tea Party" protest against the then-new Affordable Care Act, as Salon.com reported.
Dworkin first uncovered and posted the Nunes video in March, but reposted the clip via Twitter on Friday, following two weeks of hearings in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry. During the televised hearings, Nunes — the highest-ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee — emerged as perhaps Trump's leading defender.
In the hearings, Nunes frequently pushed a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 presidential election — on the side of Democrat Hillary Clinton, not Trump — even once citing a pro-Russian Ukrainian politician who may have been one of the originators of that debunked theory.
In the video, which may be seen below on this page, Nunes claims that the Tea Party protesters were responding to "totalitarian tactics" by Democrats, saying that such alleged tactics cause people to "begin to act crazy."
"There's people that have every right to say what they want. If they wanna smear someone, they can do it," Nunes told the C-Span Washington Journal program.Nunes defended the Tea Party protesters — a crowd estimated at 20,000 — against charges of racism, saying "not all of them were doing that."
Though Nunes in the video defends the rights of "people" to "say what they want," the Fresno, California, representative in March filed a lawsuit against Twitter over a parody account known as "Devin Nunes' Cow," according to a Los Angeles Times report.
In the lawsuit, Nunes seeks $250 million in damages from the social media platform. By calling him a "treasonous cowpoke" and "udder-ly worthless," among other putdowns, the account and two other, similar Twitter accounts damaged his reputation and caused him to win his 2018 reelection vote by a smaller margin than he otherwise may have, Nunes claims.
Lewis, who has served in Congress since 1987, was one of the top civil rights leaders during the nonviolent protests led by Dr. Martin Luther King in the early 1960s, according to Biography.com. He spoke at the "March on Washington" in 1963, at which King delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech.
In 1965, Lewis led a march by civil rights protesters from Selma, Alabama, to Montgomery. The demonstration became known as "Bloody Sunday," due to violent attacks against the protesters by Alabama state troopers. Lewis suffered a fractured skull in the demonstration.