Trey Gowdy calls Dan Pfeiffer a ‘demagogic self-serving political hack’

July 23, 2013

A Republican lawmaker had strong words for a top White House adviser who used Twitter to critique a GOP immigration reform proposal.


Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). (The Washington Post)

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who chairs a House subcommittee on border security, called Pfeiffer a "demagogic self-serving political hack who can't even be elected to a parent advisory committee, much less Congress."

Gowdy spoke at a subcommittee hearing on the topic of how to address the legal status of the children of illegal immigrants.

And why did the South Carolina Republican speak out so forcefully?

On Tuesday morning, Pfeiffer wrote on Twitter that a House proposal to address the legal status of the children of undocumented immigrants amounts to “cruel hypocrisy” since it would leave millions of immigrants in the country illegally without a path to citizenship.

House Majority Leader Eric I. Cantor (R-Va.) and other top Republicans are working on a proposal similar to the DREAM Act, which is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks. But several congressional Democrats and immigrant advocates say the proposal would fail to address the fate of millions of other undocumented immigrants, including parents and relatives of the so-called DREAMers, who are named after the 2010 bill that failed to pass the House and Senate.

Pfeiffer had tweeted a link to an editorial in La Opinion, a Southern California newspaper aimed at Latinos, that was critical of Cantor’s proposal. The piece “nails the cruel hypocrisy of the GOP immigration plan: allow some kids to stay but deport their parents,” Pfeiffer wrote.

Gowdy's comments came at the end of an hours-long hearing and as he was thanking four witnesses for being constructive and professional. Here's the full quote:

"When I see quotes like I did today from someone named Dan Pfeiffer, who apparently works for the president. I think it is the same Dan Pfeiffer that once said that the law is irrelevant. And he tweeted out today that our plan is to allow some kids to stay but to deport their parents. He summarized this entire debate with that tweet. So I want to compliment you and thank you for not being a demagogic, self-serving political hack who can't even be elected to a parent advisory committee, much less Congress, which is what Mr. Pfeiffer is. I want to thank you for not being that and understanding that these are complex issues where reasonable minds can perhaps differ."

David Nakamura and Jenna Johnson contributed to this report.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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