White House Spokesman Tears Into House GOP Over Confederate Flag

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Updated at 5:35 p.m. on Jul 9th

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday lambasted House Republicans for pushing for an amendment that would allow Confederate flags to be displayed in federal cemeteries and sold in stores located in national parks.

“A sizable number of House Republicans are eager to protect the states of the Confederate flag on National Park Service grounds. These are the same house Republicans who voted for a party leader who once described himself as ‘David Duke without the baggage,'” Earnest said at Thursday’s press briefing, according to the Huffington Post.

Earnest was referring to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who has been linked to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.

The press secretary also took the time to knock Republicans who have not renounced Donald Trump for his remarks calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and drug dealers.

“These are the same congressional Republicans who have declined to criticize the race-baiting rhetoric of a leading Republican presidential candidate. That’s to say nothing of the Senate Republican who has saluted that candidate,” he said, likely referring to comments made by Trump.

“So when you hear me say that congressional Republicans have an agenda that is out of step with the vast majority of Americans, this record, at least in part, is what I’m referring to,” Earnest continued.

Following Earnest’s remarks Thursday afternoon, House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) office responded, saying that’s Earnest’s comments about the amendment pertaining to the Confederate flag were “dishonest.”

“Distorting fact to try and score cheap political points is no way to honor the victims of the horrific crime in Charleston. These childish attacks are completely dishonest, and beneath the dignity of the office of the presidency,” Cory Fritz, Boehner’s press secretary, said in a statement to TPM.

After the House on Tuesday passed Democratic amendments to the Interior spending bill that would prohibit Confederate flags from being displayed at federal cemeteries and sold at stores on National Park Service land, House Republicans moved on Wednesday to defend the flag.

Republicans then proposed an amendment that would allow for the display and sale of Confederate flags on federal lands.

However, after House Democrats decried the GOP’s defense of the Confederate flag, the House suspended the vote on the Interior spending bill while the House sorts out the Confederate flag amendments.

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