CNN anchor Jake Tapper questioned double-amputee U.S. Army veteran-turned Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast’s commitment to U.S. democracy over the lawmaker’s objections to the impeachment of President Donald Trump on Wednesday.
During the House of Representatives’ debate on impeachment, Mast asked if lawmakers had questioned any of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill demonstrators about who or what inspired their violent actions, and if indeed any had felt inspired by anything Trump actually said.
As CNN covered the impeachment debate, Tapper said, “Congressman Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida — who lost his legs, by the way, fighting for democracy abroad, although I don’t know about his commitment to it here in the United States.”
In the clip, Tapper continues rebutting Mast’s remarks on the House floor. Tapper said “Mast said, ‘Did anybody say that?'” referring to his questions about demonstrators at the Capitol specifically citing Trump’s remarks as the reason for storming the Capitol. “Yes, we heard them” Tapper continued.
Mast served as a bomb disposal expert under the Joint Special Operations Command and during a 2010 mission in Kandahar Afghanistan, was clearing explosives when one an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated, resulting in the loss of his legs.
Responding to Tapper on Wednesday night, Mast tweeted, “I lost two legs for @jaketapper’s right to say whatever the hell he wants, but that free speech also protects the Republicans he is so eager to condemn for asking Constitutional questions about the election.”
Tapper responded to Mast, tweeting, “You’re a hero for your service and I’m grateful, as I’ve said before. And yes i question the commitment to democracy of anyone who spread election lies, signed onto that deranged TX AG lawsuit, and voted to commit sedition. You were not just asking questions.”
Mast supported a lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to overturn the results of the elections in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia, due to what he described as unconstitutional changes to the states’ election procedures. The Supreme Court tossed out the case. Mast was also one of 147 lawmakers who voted against certifying the election results on Jan. 6 and on Wednesday voted against impeaching Trump.
On Thursday, Mast joined Fox & Friends to discuss Tapper’s questioning. Mast said, “Look, the response is this, ‘okay, the president told you to come to the People’s House. Did he tell you to do it violently or did he tell you to go there and cheer people on or what?'”
“It’s worth getting to the bottom of before you rush to judgment, and that’s the foundation of democracy, and I’m going to say to Mr. Tapper the same thing that half of America is saying right now,” Mast said. “Hold me to a high standard, don’t hold me to a double standard. And me asking if any of these lawmakers that are about to vote have gone through any questioning, any hearings, have asked any questions of anybody. That’s an appropriate question and it speaks to the foundation of our democracy, it doesn’t diminish it.”