Republican Dan Crenshaw (Tx.) has apologized for calling Republican colleagues who opposed Kevin McCarthy's (R-Ca.) Speaker of the House bid "terrorists."
Crenshaw told CNN's Jake Tapper that he used the term as a figure of speech as things got "heated."
During the Speaker battle last week, Crenshaw had said that Republicans "cannot let the terrorists win."
Crenshaw told CNN that the right-wing has called him "awful, vile things" and that he was "a little taken aback by the sensitivity" of those offended by the "terrorists" comment, but he said he's sorry for the "turn of phrase."
"But to the extent that I have colleagues that were offended by it, I sincerely apologize to them. I don’t want them to think I actually believe they’re terrorists."
"That's where the heartburn is"
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) responds to the tension surrounding Kevin McCarthy during a chaotic week of House speaker votes and whether Republicans learned something from it. @CNNSotu #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/EsRugfV7tf
— CNN (@CNN) January 8, 2023
Crenshaw wasn't the only one to use harsh language against the 20 anti-McCarthy dissidents, who were widely described as hostage-takers or even, as Fox News host Brian Kilmeade called them, "insurrectionists."
Passions flared late Friday night as the voting continued on to a fifteenth and final round. In a dramatic moment, Republican Mike Rogers (Al.) had to be restrained as he confronted Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.), one of the leaders of the anti-McCarthy faction.
Rogers has since apologized, saying his emotions got the better of him. He is now saying he plans to voluntarily step down from the powerful Republican steering committee.
"I regret that I briefly lost my temper on the House Floor Friday evening and appreciate Matt’s kind understanding,” Rogers said.
Gaetz has said he forgives Rogers and that he shouldn't be penalized "just because he had an animated moment."
The 20 Republican holdouts have touted concessions from McCarthy as significant wins for the conservative movement that will make government more accountable, with Gaetz saying the Speaker battle was "absolutely worth it."
"Speaker McCarthy is our Speaker and long live the speaker. I look forward to working closely with him," Gaetz said.
Crenshaw lost a bid to chair the Homeland Security Committee on Monday to Mark Green (R-Tn.) as Republicans voted to approve the new rules package, with just one Republican, Tony Gonzalez (Tx.), voting against it.