Wilson's Apology

Rep. Joe Wilson, the conservative Republican congressman who shouted "You lie!" at President Obama during last night's address to a joint session of Congress, issued an apology last night:

"This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility."

Politico has video of the heckling here:


Wilson drew an aghast death-look from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi--one that actually made me frightened while watching at home--and has been roundly toasted by liberal commentators surprised by his boldness. And, coincidentally, his website is currently down, probably inundated with traffic, and the phone line for his office has been busy this morning.

And House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), the highest-ranking South Carolinian in the federal government, says Wilson "ought to man up" and apologize to Obama in person.

As for the veracity of his claim--that health care reform would offer coverage to illegal immigrants (that's what he accused Obama of lying about)--the bill specifically prohibits federal subsidies to help illegal immigrants obtain coverage if they can't afford it (OpenCongress explains it here). The Congressional Research Service, a body that conducts research at the behest of members of Congress, says the bill could leave a loophole for subsidies to go to illegal immigrants anyway, because it doesn't specify a citizenship verification system.

Subsidies are a different issue from simply purchasing the public insurance and paying the premium, and maybe that's what Wilson meant. As long as his phones stay busy, we may not find out this morning.
Presented by

Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Politics

Just In