WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., announced today that her leadership political action committee will donate $1,000 to the Democratic opponent of Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., in the wake of his remarks to President Obama last night.
In a rare breach of protocol, Wilson interrupted Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress by shouting “You lie!” after the president said that the Democratic health care bills would not cover illegal immigrants.
The incident shocked members of both parties and the audience sitting above the House floor in the gallery.
“Rep. Wilson’s words were an insult to the president of the United States and an embarrassment to the U.S. House of Representatives,” McCollum said in a statement, which also encouraged other Democrats to work to support Wilson’s opponent. “He crossed a line of protocol and decency that may be acceptable for angry ‘tea baggers’ at a rally, but is completely unacceptable for a member of Congress in the House Chambers.”
Wilson’s office issued an apology after the speech. Wilson also phoned the White House to apologize, and Obama quickly accepted the apology. “I’m a big believer that we all make mistakes,” the president said. “He [Wilson] apologized quickly and without equivocation, and I’m appreciative of that…”
Wilson’s opponent in the state’s 2nd congressional district is Democrat Rob Miller, who lost to Wilson in 2008 by 46 percent to 54 percent.
So far this year, McCollum’s leadership PAC has donated money to Democrats from states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Maryland.
McCollum, who sits on the House Appropriations and Budget Committees, is also a member of Democratic leadership.