Republicans must have rejoiced after news broke on Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder — one of the longest serving members of Obama’s cabinet — would be resigning once his successor is confirmed.
Holder has repeatedly clashed with congressional lawmakers over programs like the Fast and Furious anti-gun smuggling operation, the administration’s decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and its opposition to voting restrictions. But the acrimony often went beyond policy disagreement and spilled into personal attacks and innuendo. Through his six-year tenure, the GOP routinely smeared Holder by questioning his character and integrity. Below are six craziest things Republican have said about Holder:
1. Holder is sympathetic to terrorists.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) argued in April of 2013 that Holder permitted a federal judge to read Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights because the Obama cabinet official is biased towards terrorism. “Think about it, when your attorney general spent more of his legal career helping terrorists than defending the country, then you know we all have certain biases and lean certain ways,” he said during a radio interview with Glenn Beck.
2. Holder is an accessory to murder.
Congressional Republicans spent years investigating the so-called “Fast and Furious” operations, a series of sting operations where illegal guns were sold in the expectation that they could be tracked to drug traders. Though Holder was eventually exonerated of any wrong doing, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ) told The Daily Caller on October of 2011 that Obama administration officials like Holder could be accessories to murder. “We’re talking about consequences of criminal activity, where we actually allowed guns to walk into the hands of criminals, where our livelihoods are at risk,” he said. “When you facilitate that and a murder or a felony occurs, you’re called an accessory. That means that there’s criminal activity.”
3. Holder is actively helping people commit voter fraud.
In a letter released in June of 2012, Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL) accused Holder of “supporting voter fraud in Florida.” According to Rooney, Holder is assisting in voter fraud, which is a crime, for the purpose of “aiding the President’s reelection campaign.” Rooney claims Holder of “actively working to enable voter fraud and allow illegal immigrants to cast votes in the state of Florida.”
4. Holder is inciting race riots.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) accused Holder of “purposefully” inciting “racial tensions” by talking about voter identification efforts at a speech before the NAACP. “In labeling the Texas voter ID law as a ‘poll tax,’ Eric Holder purposefully used language designed to inflame passions and incite racial tension. It was not only inappropriate, but simply incorrect on its face,” Perry wrote in a letter to Obama in July of 2012.
5. Holder has disdain for American government.
In 2009, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) criticized the Obama administration’s push to hold a trial in a New York City court for accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, arguing that Obama and Holder have “a disdain for our form of government.”
6. Holder should be arrested and disbarred.
In April of 2014, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) refused to question Holder at a Congressional hearing, arguing that the attorney general belongs in jail for failing to turn over documents related to the Fast and Furious investigation. “I’m committed to maintaining the Constitutional balance of power and the authority that this legislative branch has, and I just don’t think it’s appropriate that Mr. Holder be here,” he said. “If an American citizen had not complied with one of the Justice Department’s subpoenas, they would be in jail and not sitting here in front of me, testifying.”
Finally, during a testy exchange with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) during Holder’s May 2013 testimony before a House committee, Gohmert insisted that “[t]he attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus.” When Holder testified again nearly a year later, he concluded another exchange with Gohmert by telling the lawmaker “good luck with your asparagus.”