Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) on Tuesday torched some of his most prominent Republican colleagues this week, calling members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus “grifters” and “performance artists” who only “know how to say slogans real well.”
And perhaps surprisingly, Crenshaw came to the defense of current GOP pariah and avowed Trump critic Adam Kinzinger, praising the retiring Illinois congressman for his conservative voting record.
Speaking at a Texas campaign event on Sunday, Crenshaw took aim at Republican critics who have personally called him out for voting for what they’ve described as a “vaccine database” to track and punish unvaccinated citizens. As the conservative lawmaker noted, what he actually supported was a House bill merely allocating state funds to update immunization information systems.
“You heard online that 80 Republicans voted to track you in a vaccine database,” Crenshaw told Republican voters at the Texas Liberty Alliance PAC event. “If it sounds too ridiculous to be true, it’s probably not true.”
The former Navy SEAL and Afghanistan War veteran then specifically called out the far-right wing of his party for seeking the media spotlight while misrepresenting or outright lying about policies and laws.
“There are two types of members of Congress: there is performance artists and there is legislators,” he exclaimed. “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.”
Wowie! Dan Crenshaw trashes ‘Freedom Caucus’ members Greene, Brooks, Gohmert, Gosar, Jordan, etc, as “performance artists” while defending Kinzinger. “We have grifters in our midst .. lie after lie after lie.” 🍿 pic.twitter.com/hoaGOcOx9s
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 7, 2021
Rhetorically asking the audience who they thought voted most often with former President Donald Trump and which Republicans sided with Trump the least, Crenshaw noted that they’d “probably cringe a little bit” to learn that Kinzinger was at the top of the list.
“Adam Kinzinger voted with Trump almost 99 percent [of the time]. He was number two,” Crenshaw said of the Illinois lawmaker, who is one of only two Republicans on the Jan. 6 House select committee.
As for the Freedom Caucus—which consists of headline-making congresspeople such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, and Matt Gaetz—Crenshaw pointed out that the group largely sits at the bottom of the Trump-supporting pile.
“What you hear so often is not true. It’s not true. We have grifters in our midst,” he proclaimed. “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 people are going to infringe upon us, that’s the nature of conservatism!”
Crenshaw has long attempted to thread a needle when it comes to embracing Trump’s policies while distancing himself from the fringe elements of the disgraced ex-president’s base. This has resulted in the Republican lawmaker getting called out on Meet the Press for trying to have it both ways on Trump’s “Big Lie”—and being heckled by QAnon supporters for saying the 2020 election wasn’t stolen.