A tense moment during a congressional hearing Tuesday ended with Attorney General Eric Holder making a disparaging reference to something Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said during a hearing in 2013.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas., listens during a joint hearing with the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. (AP)
"Good luck with your asparagus," Holder said after Gohmert’s time had expired.
Obviously, the “asparagus” reference requires some explaining.
Last year, Holder and Gohmert went head-to-head following the Boston Marathon bombings. That exchange ended with the Texas representative tripping over his words and declaring: “The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus!”
Gohmert’s critics quickly seized on his bungled statement and it became the butt end of jokes in certain corners.
Now, fast-forward to April 2014, and Holder and Gohmert are at it again. This time, however, instead of arguing about the Boston terror attacks, the two argued over Gohmert’s claim that the DOJ has ignored requests to turn over certain documents to congressional investigators.
“I think what we promised to do is to provide you and your staff with,” Holder began to say in the hearing.
“Sir, I've read you what your department promised and it is inadequate, and I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight,” Gohmert interjected.
“You don't want to go there, okay?” an angry Holder said.
“I don't want to go there? About the contempt?” Gohmert asked.
“You should not assume that is not a big deal to me. I think that it was inappropriate, I think it was unjust. But never think that was not a big deal to me. Don't ever think that,” Holder said.
Here's the heated exchange:
Gohmert’s time expired before he had a chance to clarify his statement or change his line of questioning – but that didn’t stop Holder from getting his “diss.”
"Good luck with your asparagus," the attorney general said.
As the Wire pointed out, the comment "is simple to explain.""It was, as the kids say, an f-you, a not-subtle dig at Gohmert's reputation for exaggeration and confusion," writer Philip Bump wrote. "It was an attempt to make Gohmert feel bad, to get under his skin. It was, in other words, punitive — not necessarily the sort of thing you want to see from America's main law enforcement official, particularly when he's being grilled by the committee that oversees his work."
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