DALLAS — After slamming members of the U.S. House’s conservative Freedom Caucus by calling them “grifters” and “performance artists," U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw is catching heat from conservatives on social media.
Crenshaw, who represents Texas’ second congressional district in Houston, accused members of the Freedom Caucus of being “grifters” within the conservative movement. While Crenshaw did not mention any names specifically, many of his Texas Republican colleagues are members, including Reps. Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Chip Roy of Austin, Randy Weber of Friendswood and Michael Cloud of Victoria.
In a speech made on the stage of an event sponsored by the Texas Liberty Alliance PAC, Crenshaw dug into his accusation, described what he said were two kinds of lawmakers in Congress.
“There’re performance artists, and there’re legislators,” he said. Many members of the Freedom Caucus were performance artists because they “get all the attention” by just repeating the words voters wanted to hear and that’s it, he said.
“They’re 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,” he said at the Sunday event, held to garner support for two Republican congressional candidates, Wesley Hunt and Morgan Luttrell, who are running for seats in two Houston-area districts.
Crenshaw said, despite the caucus’ commitment to pushing conservative legislation in the House, “every member of the Freedom Caucus” was at the bottom of the list when it came to supporting former President Donald Trump’s agenda.
But what they are saying is just “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 said.
After a video clip of the Houston congressman circulated on social media, it quickly caught the eye of conservative watchers.
Michael Berry, a Houston-based conservative radio talk show host, said in a tweet that he no longer supported Crenshaw, whom he claimed to have helped get elected.
Another conservative radio host, Dan Bongino, said on his show that Crenshaw was doing “what the left does by claiming to be one of these false prophets” who hijacks the conservative movement. He then called for someone to challenge Crenshaw in a Republican primary next year in an attempt to unseat him.
Crenshaw is a frequent critic of House Democrats as well as President Joe Biden, and this isn’t the first time Crenshaw has criticized the more radically conservative members of his Republican Party and gotten heat for it.
The former Navy SEAL was elected in 2018 and became an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump. After the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Houston congressman slammed members of Congress who he said instigated the chaos in Washington, D.C. that day. He voted to impeach Trump on the charge of “inciting an insurrection” for the former president’s role in the Capitol attack.
“These people have been lied to en masse by the millions in the sense that they were led to believe Jan. 6 was anything but a political performance for a few opportunistic politicians to give a five-minute speech. That is all that it ever was,” Crenshaw said after the storming of the Capitol when at least five people died.
In addition to its Texas members, the Freedom Caucus also includes Reps. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Paul A. Gosar, R-Ariz., Marjorie Taylor Greene R-Ga., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, all of whom have been frequent subjects of criticism from Democrats.
After Crenshaw’s speech went viral on social media, the Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump, former Republicans, retweeted the clip, tagging several members of the caucus.
Crenshaw shot back at the Lincoln Project’s tweet, saying he didn’t mention any of the congress members by name in his speech criticizing the Freedom Caucus.
“Hey Lincoln Project pedos, I didn’t mention a single person by name,” he tweeted, adding a sentence using an expletive that the group shouldn’t “stir things up.”
“You’re also a bunch of grifters, for the record,” he said.