Tea Party hero Louie Gohmert wants to arrest Eric Holder

It's well known that the two men aren't buddies, but the Texas congressman is taking their rivalry to a new level

Published April 21, 2014 6:58PM (EDT)

Louie Gohmert                         (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Louie Gohmert (AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Attorney General Eric Holder do not like each other. This is not quite a fact, since feelings are fleeting things and neither man — not even the often-incendiary and outspoken Gohmert — has said so in public. But recent events have made clear that the two men's antipathy for one another has not waned with time.

That's the necessary context to keep in mind when interpreting Gohmert's recent comments, made on Friday while he was a guest on a radio program from the right-wing Family Research Council, that someone who has been held in contempt of Congress (like, say, Eric Holder) can be held by the sergeant at arms if the House requests it. Gohmert claims the Department of Justice still hasn't handed over all the Fast and Furious-related documents requested of it by Congress.

"When you have someone like an attorney general who is in contempt of Congress, what can we do?" Gohmert said, referring to Holder. "Someone in contempt of Congress comes waltzing into the House chamber and he’s in contempt of Congress as found by the Congress, what can be done? I was told that actually you can pass a resolution directing the sergeant at arms to detain anyone who is in contempt of Congress until such time as they comply with the requirement that put him in contempt."

Responding to Gohmert's brainstorming, FRC president Tony Perkins then chimed in that he, too, has found it odd that the attorney general of the United States isn't on the run from Congress. "I was sitting next to your guest at the State of the Union address, Sean Hannity and I were sitting up in the balcony and that was the thought that crossed my mind when I saw the attorney general," Perkins said. "I said, here’s a guy — this guy’s got a lot of nerve, he’s in contempt of Congress ... and he just strolls right in and sits on the front row there."

Asked by Perkins why Congress doesn't "do anything about" Holder's lack of proper respect, Gohmert returned to his original idea of jailing the attorney general.

"My thought was the only thing that we can probably do is defund any area of the Justice Department that is in contempt, that won’t produce the documents that were demanded," Gohmert explained. "But apparently another option would be to direct a sergeant at arms, somebody comes into our jurisdiction at Capitol Hill, you restrain them until such time, and there is a cell there on Capitol Hill."

You can listen to Gohmert and Perkins talk about how the first African-American attorney general in U.S. history is insufficiently deferential to Congress below, via Right Wing Watch:

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

MORE FROM Elias Isquith