A high-profile member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee chided President Donald Trump on Wednesday for calling Republicans who have refused to back him “human scum.”
“To call anybody human scum is beneath the office of the presidency. You can’t say that, right? You’re the president. You have different standards,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.”
The Air Force veteran was asked about the combative tweet posted by Trump on Wednesday afternoon, in which Trump accused the “Never Trumper Republicans” of being more dangerous to the country than “Do Nothing Democrats.”
“Watch out for them, they are human scum!” the President tweeted.
“Sometimes you’ll hear people say, ‘Well this congressman said this once’ … yeah, nobody should say anything like this,” Kinzinger said.
“But I think there’s a different level when you’re the President of the United States. You have a different responsibility and that’s why I’m outspoken about it,” he continued.
Kinzinger also shared concerns about what he termed “name-calling” and the effects those remarks can have on morale in Congress during the interview. Kinzinger said his colleagues in the House needed to “talk to each other as grownups.”
“We need to just have conversations and I’m going to say this to my colleagues on my side and the other side of the aisle … by calling names and screaming and yelling and demonstrating, you never win anybody to your side.
“You just make your base happy but you’re not actually doing anything effective,” said Kinzinger.
Kinzinger was speaking hours after Ambassador Jim Jeffrey’s statement to Kinzinger’s committee that more than 100 escaped ISIS fighters had gone missing after Turkey agreed to halt its attack on Syrian Kurds. Trump maintains that the ISIS fighters who escaped Kurdish jails during the attack have “been largely recaptured.”
“I asked Ambassador Jeffrey today: does ISIS see this pullout as a benefit or negative to them?” said Kinzinger of the ceasefire. “He said they’re happy about it. So, it’s beneficial to ISIS. We don’t have a view on where ISIS is right now. They’re obviously going to reconstitute.”
He added, “I’m glad there is no fighting, you know, I think given the circumstance, a cease fire is good. But this is not a victory at all.”