Rep. Byron Donalds gives fiery speech to Dems defending First Amendment, energy producers

Republican Rep. Byron Donalds excoriated Democrats on a House committee panel Thursday over their hostile questioning of oil executives regarding climate change and emissions.

“First of all, to the witnesses, the leaders of Exxon, Chevron, BP, Shell. I know that the climate activists in Twitterworld, which Dave Chappelle says doesn’t exist, and he’s right; because it’s just people who have nothing better to do but type on their keyboards,” Donalds said during a House Committee on Oversight Reform hearing titled, “The Fossil Fuel Industry’s Climate Change Disinformation Campaign.”

President Joe Biden speaks about his domestic agenda from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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“And we do it too here in Congress,” Donalds continued. “But let’s be very clear, you need an apology. Because what I witnessed here today was just rank intimidation by the Chair of this committee. Trying to get you to pledge on what you are going to spend your money on is a gross violation of the First Amendment.”

In the hearing, Democrats grilled the executives from ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Shell over climate change including Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who said, “Some of us actually have to live the future that you all are setting on fire for us.”

Representative Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Sunday, July 11, 2021. The three-day conference is titled "America UnCanceled." Photographer: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Representative Byron Donalds, a Republican from Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Sunday, July 11, 2021. The three-day conference is titled “America UnCanceled.” Photographer: Dylan Hollingsworth/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Cori Bush accused the executives of taking part in “environmental racism” and labeled them responsible of killing “millions of people” with fossil fuels.

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Donalds, a Republican from Florida, called the Democrats’ line of questioning “absolutely disgusting.”

“Somebody needs to go and call Merrick Garland, tell him to get in here and watch the intimidation that came from this very panel today,” Donalds said. “Because this is not about defending big oil, or defending big anything. It’s about defending the ability of people in our country to be free: say what they want, think what they want, spend their money how they choose. And if we are not going to be any better than the Chinese, how do we ever expect to beat them on the world stage when we’re cutting our neck when it comes to energy production while they are burning more coal, burning more oil, they’re increasing their emissions and they’re not showing up in Scotland,” referring to the ongoing environmental conference in Glasgow.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28: U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden depart the White House on October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden is traveling to Italy to meet with Pope Francis and attend the G-20 Leaders' Summit and then to Scotland for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 28: U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden depart the White House on October 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden is traveling to Italy to meet with Pope Francis and attend the G-20 Leaders’ Summit and then to Scotland for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Donalds explained that the Chinese aren’t attending the conference in Scotland because “they’re interested in building an economy.”

“So I’m sorry for you, and I’m sorry for the people in our country who have to witness shenanigans like this and witness circuses like this,” Donalds added. “That’s why they call that one show on HBO or whatever it is, “The Circus,” because that’s exactly what this is.”


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