GOP Rep. sorry for saying mayor's daughter could be kidnapped

Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., offered a half-hearted apology over a warning about terror trials in NYC

Published November 18, 2009 12:01AM (EST)

There are quite a few people who aren't happy about the Obama administration's decision to bring suspected al-Qaida terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York City for trial. Naturally, then, most of those people have been very vocal and very harsh in their criticism of the move. But on Monday night, Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., took it to a whole new level.

"I saw the Mayor of New York said today, 'We're tough. We can do it.' Well, Mayor, how are you going to feel when it's your daughter that's kidnapped at school by a terrorist?" Shadegg said on the floor of the House. "How are you going to feel when it's some clerk -- some innocent clerk of the court -- whose daughter or son is kidnapped? Or the jailer's little brother or little sister? This is political correctness run amok."

The congressman has since offered something of an apology to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying in a statement, "I apologize for the insensitivity of my remarks with respect to the mayor or his family, however I think it is important to note that this decision involves potential risk to innocent people."

It's hard to truly take back a statement like the one Shadegg originally made, though, hard to reassure someone after scaring them like that. But perhaps the worst part of his comments is the fact that they make no logical sense -- Bloomberg won't suddenly be granted authority over the prisoners just because they're in his city, much less the authority to release them.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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