Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) doesn’t think an invitation for free beers at the White House cuts it — he wants the president to retract and apologize for his comment that Sgt. James Crowley “acted stupidly” in arresting Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates. McCotter, a member of the House Republican leadership team, introduced a resolution to that effect yesterday. During a conference call this afternoon, he framed it as an issue of presidential power.
“If you want to talk about an overexpansion of presidential powers,” McCotter said, “You have the most powerful man in the world admit bias toward a party and a lack of facts and determine that a police seargant in Cambridge, Massachusetts acted improperly.” McCotter emphasized the “inherently unequal power relationship” between President Obama and Sgt. Crowley.
McCotter acknowledged that the Democrats were unlikely to bring his resolution to the floor but said it was important to state the principle that the president should not have the power to “prejudge” and “accuse a private citizen of wrondoing.” McCotter was not satisfied with the president’s efforts to “recalibrate” his remarks and tone down the controversy, calling it “a stylistic change, not a substantive change.”
“The president reiterated that the officer did something wrong,” McCotter said. He continued by saying that if the president could force the CEO of General Motors to resign, this is a terrible precedent to set with a local police officer. Michigan’s police union backs McCotter’s resolution. “After admitting a bias against the police officer and an ignorance of the facts, the President used his bully pulpit to help a well connected friend by unfairly accusing an officer of misconduct in the performance of his duties. It must not stand. If it does, what officer will be next?”