Senator Jay Rockefeller (D., W. Va.) pointed to President Obama’s race as the reason for opposition to Obamacare.
“I think it’s very important to take a long view at what’s going on here,” Rockefeller said during a near-empty Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committee hearing on Wednesday. “I’ll be able to dig up some e-mails that make part of the Affordable Care Act that doesn’t look good, especially from people who’ve made up their mind that they don’t want it to work, because they don’t like the president — maybe he’s the wrong color, something of that sort.”
“I’ve seen a lot of that, and I know a lot of that to be true,” he continued. “It’s not something you’re meant to talk about in public, but it’s something I’m talking about in public because that is very true.”
Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), who was apparently the only Republican present at the time, called out Rockefeller for his accusations.
“It was regrettable, and I would say it was offensive, seeing as how I’m the only one in the room here really talking about opposition, that you would play the race card, that you would say opposition to Obamacare necessarily must stream from, inert, inherent racism — very offensive,” Johnson fired back. He detailed how the new system is hurting Americans across all ages, the negative impacts the law will have moving forward, and called the law an example of “massive consumer fraud.”
“No, I did not object to this because of the race of the president — I objected to this because it is an assault on our freedom,” Johnson said. “I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I’m a racist because I opposed this health-care law — that is outrageous.”
“You’ve lost your temper,” Rockefeller responded, and denied ever implying that Johnson and others were racist.