January 25, 2017 at 10:35 AM
In a remarkable Tuesday night floor speech, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, praised the physical and mental powers of President Trump and encouraged people to get "unvarnished" news directly from the president, not from the news media.
"Just think what the media would be saying about President Trump if he were a Democrat," Smith said during the evening time reserved for one-minute speeches. "He has tremendous energy. He campaigned for 18 months, puts in 15-hour days, and has the stamina of a bull elephant, like Teddy Roosevelt. He is courageous and fearless. Given the amount of hate directed his way, no doubt he constantly receives death threats, but that doesn't curtail his public appearances or seem to worry him in the least."
Smith's description of the president didn't mirror anything in particular "the media" said about former president Barack Obama; they did echo a popular criticism of Hillary Clinton, who Trump insisted lacked the "stamina" to be president, and who since the election has been criticized by the left for largely spending August 2016 on low-profile fundraising events while Trump campaigned.
The rest of Smith's speech included praise for how Trump involved his children in decisions — a subject of some controversy among progressive legal groups — and a laundry list of accomplishments he credited to the president, including a spike in the consumer confidence index.
"The national liberal media won't print that, or air it, or post it," Smith said. "Better to get your news directly from the president. In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth."
Trump carried Smith's conservative Texas district by 10 points last year, but that margin shrunk from previous elections. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried Smith's 21st Congressional District by 22 percentage points. As chairman of the science committee, Smith has vigorously used subpoena power to demand documents, email exchanges and testimony from scientists whom he has accused of efforts to deny companies "their First Amendment rights."
Smith is also a member of the House Freedom of the Press caucus.