Tea party calls on Obama to rebuke union chief

September 5, 2011

WASHINGTON — A tea party group called on President Barack Obama to rebuke Teamsters President Jim Hoffa for urging him to use supporters at a Labor Day rally as an army to march and “take out” tea partyers, describing the remarks as “a call for violence.”

Obama was not on stage at the Detroit rally when Hoffa made the remarks Monday. The White House declined to comment on the flap.

In addressing the crowd before Obama’s appearance, Hoffa said there has been a war on workers. “And you see it everywhere, it is the tea party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war.”

Hoffa added: “President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of a b----- out and give America back to an America where we belong.”

In a statement, the chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, Amy Kremer, demanded an immediate apology from Hoffa and urged Obama to rebuke him for “his dangerous comments.”

“Jimmy Hoffa’s remarks are inexcusable and amount to a call for violence on peaceful tea party members, which include many Teamster members,” Kremer said. “We have called on President Obama to condemn this inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric, which has no place in the public forum.”

Teamsters spokeswoman Leigh Strope said in a statement: “Workers didn’t start this war — the right-wing tea party zealots did. Jim Hoffa’s comments today reflect the anger of workers under attack in this country. Instead of focusing on the economy as a top priority after taking office, corporate-funded conservatives attempted to gut the middle class.”

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