You are hereThink Progress: GOP Civil War Erupts: Tea Party Freshman Rips Chamber CEO Tom Donahue
Think Progress: GOP Civil War Erupts: Tea Party Freshman Rips Chamber CEO Tom Donahue
-By Pat Garofalo
June 15, 2011- The Chamber of Commerce, as ThinkProgress has extensively documented, went to great lengths to elect Republicans in 2010, funding attack ads against several Democrats. The Chamber has also launched a series of broadsides against the Obama administration agenda, working with Republicans to undermine everything from the Affordable Care Act to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
This week, though, Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue may have ignited a civil war within the GOP. Many Tea Party freshman within the House Republican caucus have said that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, which would force the U.S. to default on its debt obligations. In fact, many said that raising the debt ceiling would be a “betrayal” of the platform that they ran on.
But Donohue sent a message those freshman during a speech before the Rotary Club of Atlanta: Fail to raise the debt ceiling and “we’ll get rid of you.” Today, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) appeared on Fox News, where he tore into Donohue for threatening House Republicans:
I found Tom Donahue’s comments outrageous, tone-deaf, totally establishment, and doesn’t understand at all where we’re at right now…If Tom Donahue is more comfortable having Nancy Pelosi as Speaker next year because he wants to get rid of all of us tea party, fiscally-conservative freshman who came here on a mission to save our kids from the debt we’re placing on their backs, then fine. He can have Nancy Pelosi as his Speaker.
A Chamber spokesman later said that Donohue was joking and that the comment was merely part of “pleasant and humorous banter going back and forth” between Donohue and his audience. But Walsh said during the interview that he wasn’t buying it. And many other GOP freshmen aren’t either.