FBI agent Peter Strzok faced nearly 10 hours of grilling Thursday during a congressional hearing that produced quite a few memorable moments and a remarkable level of partisan ire.
But there was one particular exchange, involving Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), a social conservative, that stood out for its personal animus and, many charged, its hypocrisy.
While expressing his frustration that Strzok was not, in his opinion, displaying more humility, Gohmert went for the jugular.
“I can't help but wonder, when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocent into your wife's eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page?” he asked.
Strzok, a senior FBI official who oversaw counterintelligence cases, was removed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election after Justice Department investigators discovered text messages between him and Lisa Page, a former FBI lawyer, that were critical of President Trump.
Democratic lawmakers responded with disgust.
One shouted that it was “intolerable harassment of the witness,” and another cried, “You need your medication.”
The reaction on social media was bipartisan in its criticism of Gohmert, who has been an avid supporter of Trump as president.
Even Fox News's Laura Ingraham voiced disapproval about Gohmert going there. But one of the main responses was surprise. Since the days before Trump's election, there was uncertainty that social conservatives such as Gohmert still cared about infidelity.
Trump, who divorced his first wife to marry the woman with whom he was having an affair, is involved in a lawsuit with an adult-film star with whom he also reportedly had an affair around the time his third wife gave birth to his youngest child.
Despite the president facing about a dozen allegations of sexual harassment — many of them allegedly occurring while Trump was in one of his three marriages — social conservatives in Congress have failed to take him to task at anywhere close to the level that Gohmert did Strzok.
One of the lasting legacies of the Trump presidency, particularly for some of his critics, will be how many social conservatives in Congress and throughout America appeared to turn a blind eye to the moral concerns that previously seemed to be at the foundations of their political philosophy. In an effort to defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, many social conservatives have been accused of choosing party over values, and brushing what many have long considered disqualifying character issues under the rug for the sake of power and influence.
Despite his questioning of Strzok, whatever views Gohmert had about the sanctity of marriage became moot to many Americans when he endorsed a president who, before entering the White House, had done more interviews bragging about his sexual conquests than his deeply held religious convictions.