There was no shortage of awkward moments this afternoon when Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott and television host Megyn Kelly clashed during an on-air debate surrounding yesterday’s Internal Revenue Service hearing. Kelly, who already shared her outrage during Tuesday’s show, proceeded to confront the politician about his stance on the matter.
As TheBlaze’s Jason Howerton noted last night, she had previously blasted the Democrat for trying to “put the burden” on the conservative groups that were targeted instead of holding the IRS completely responsible for its inappropriate actions.
During today’s interview, after noting that many have questioned whether McDermott was “blaming the victim” during yesterday’s testimony, Kelly sparked an intense back-and-forth with the congressman.
“Anybody who would make that criticism didn’t listen to my whole speech,” the Democrat said. “The fact was, I said five times that the questions they were asked were egregious, they were out of bounds, they shouldn’t have been asked.”
While he shared his gripes with the questions posed to conservative groups, McDermott also said that any group looking to apply for a tax exemption will most certainly face tough questions.
“This process of asking for a tax exemption is one that, once you ask for one, you open yourself out to being questioned,” he said.
But Kelly pushed back and noted that some of these conservative groups were left waiting for an extended time without a decision from the IRS. McDermott noted, though, that a failure to receive tax exemptions didn’t hamper groups’ abilities to function and exercise their free speech.
At one point, the spat became heated, leading the congressman to get visibly irritated. After accusing Kelly of putting words in his mouth, he snapped, “Stop it!”
As far as the burden issue goes, the television host wasn’t satisfied by McDermott’s explanations.
“You, once again, as we saw you do yesterday, seem to be putting the burden on honest Americans who are applying for 501(c)(4) status,” Kelly charged.
“You’re wrong. I am not putting the burden on them — I am explaining the process. If you apply for 501c4 status, you have to be prepared to justify it,” he shot back.
The most awkward moment? When the congressman quipped, “I’m sorry you can’t understand rhetorical questions,” referencing Kelly’s alleged inability — in his opinion — to understand McDermott’s intentions during yesterday’s hearing.
Watch the two clash, below: