Congressional newbie Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) got called out on the House floor on Thursday for using the term “colored people” during a heated debate over his proposed amendment to the national defense bill.
A member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, Crane had put forward an amendment that would prohibit the consideration of “race, gender, religion, or political affiliations, or any other ideological concepts as the sole basis for recruitment, training education, promotion, or retention decisions.”
“My amendment has nothing to do with whether or not colored people, or Black people, or anyone can serve, okay?” Crane said as Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), a Black woman, tried to object. “It has nothing to do with [the] color of your skin, any of that stuff. What we want to preserve and maintain is the fact that our military does not become a social experiment.”
“We want the best of the best, we want to have standards,” he continued. “I’m going to tell you guys right now, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans, they are not doing this because they want the strongest military possible. I hope my colleagues on the other side can understand what we’re doing.”
His proposal was only one of a series of “culture war” amendments House Republicans have attached to the otherwise routine defense spending bill—including measures on hot-button issues such as Ukraine funding, abortion coverage, and procedures for transgender service members.
Beatty, for her part, immediately demanded the words “colored people” be stricken from the record following Crane’s rant.
“I find it offensive and very inappropriate,” she said. “I am asking for unanimous consent to take down the words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as colored people.”
Crane quickly scrambled to backtrack, asking to amend his comments to “people of color”—but Beatty wasn’t having it.
“I’ve asked for unanimous consent, Mr. Speaker, to have the words stricken. I didn’t ask for an amendment,” she declared firmly.
The congressman’s words were then removed from the record without objection. Crane’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.