GOP civil war heats up: Dan Crenshaw calls out GOP "grifters" and "performance artists" in Congress

The Republican lawmaker slammed his fellow GOP colleagues like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar

By Jon Skolnik

Published December 7, 2021 3:48PM (EST)

Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)  (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., slammed the House Freedom Caucus on Sunday, calling lawmakers like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., "grifters" and "performance artists" who tell "lie after lie after lie."

"We have grifters in our midst," Crenshaw said during a campaign event later shared online. "I mean in the conservative movement. Lie after lie after lie because they know something psychologically about the conservative heart — we're worried about what people are going to do to us, what they're going to infringe upon us."

Crenshaw's comments were directed at "everybody in the Freedom Caucus," which, aside from Greene and Gosar, includes Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C. – all of whom have become notorious for their ability to draw headlines with inflammatory remarks.  

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"There are two types of members of Congress: there is performance artists and there is legislators," Crenshaw claimed. "Performance artists are the ones who get all of the attention, the ones you think are more conservative because they know how to say slogans real well. They know how to recite the lines that they know our voters want to hear."


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Crenshaw also defended the likes of his fellow GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois who has been alienated from his most party's more extremist elements as a "RINO" (i.e., Republican only in name). 

The Texas lawmaker noted that GOP voters would likely "cringe" to learn that Kinzinger – one of the few House Republicans to vote for Trump's impeachment – actually voted with Trump almost 99 percent [of the time]" when it came to legislation. In fact, it's lawmakers in the Freedom Caucus, he added, who rank among the lowest when it comes to their votes aligning with the former president's. 

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Crenshaw's Sunday comments have drawn a wave of expected scorn from far Republicans. 

Alex Bruesewitz, CEO of X Strategies, a political consulting firm for right-wing politicians, took to Twitter to express his grievances. 

"@DanCrenshawTX defends RINO @AdamKinzinger while TRASHING the @freedomcaucus," Bruesewitz tweeted. "What is going on with Dan?"

"Crenshaw on his radio show today. I [sic] new this guy was a phony a long time ago," echoed pro-Trump user Vince Langman. "Dan Crenshaw is the Liz Cheney of Adam Kinzingers."

Ryan James Girdusky, a political correspondent at One America News Network, also joined the chorus tweeting: "Make Texas Republicans great again.. and primary Dan Crenshaw." 

It isn't the first time Crenshaw has come under fire from his own party. 

Earlier this year, Crenshaw tore into the conservatives who helped organize the January 6 Capitol riot, saying that "all of the members who called for everyone to come and fight … were scattered like cowards while the Capitol Police had to do the fighting."

More recently, Crenshaw was lampooned by his followers for voting in support of a bill that allocated more state funding to update state immunization records – legislation that Republicans decried as creating a "vaccine database."


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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