Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois said Wednesday he became a "bit too passionate" during an interaction with his constituents in which he appeared angry and deemed their comments "crap" that "pisses me off."
Walsh made the comments, seen in the video at left, at a constituent event last weekend. Seemingly frustrated, he responds to a constituent's comment by saying "don't blame banks, and don't blame the marketplace for the mess we're in right now."
"I am tired of hearing the crap," Walsh says. When a woman starts speaking in response, Walsh repeats the phrase before cutting her off, walking up to her and speaking loudly and demonstrably close to her face.
"You don't have to scream at me, I'm not screaming at you," the woman says. Walsh replies: "No, you know what? 'Cause this pisses me off. Too many people don't listen."
Earlier, Walsh said that "it's not the private marketplace that created this mess."
"What created this mess is your government, which has demanded for years that everybody be in a home...all the marketplace does is respond to what the government does," he said.
The first-term lawmaker went on to say "there are already mechanisms in place" to regulate lending that aren't working and angrily suggested it would be a mistake to "bombard them with more regulations, more government."
"I need more coffee," Walsh says toward the end of the video as he paces back and forth and continues to speak loudly. Responds the woman to whom he had been speaking earlier, a smile on her face: "I think you've had too much." She asks the bartender to give Walsh decaf.
Walsh then points to a man off-screen and says, "Quiet for a minute. Quiet for a minute. QUIET for a minute. Or I'm going to ask you to leave."
"You need to listen," Walsh says, his finger pointed at the man. "Or I'm going to ask you to leave."
Walsh said in a statement Wednesday that he hosts constituent events every weekend, deeming them "fun, engaging sessions" in which he "often meet[s] with people who disagree with me and the conversation can become spirited."
"The woman I most recently had a heated discussion with was great and she appreciated how open these events are," he said. "I apologized to her for getting a bit too passionate to which she smiled and did not mind at all."
Walsh said he is a "very passionate person," adding: "Constituents with opposing views have every right to argue with me, and I have every right to argue passionately for my conservative values. That's what freedom is all about."
He went on to say that he has "never been a 'pal of big banks'" but that "banks are not all to blame for this mess - government policy that advocated for every American to become a homeowner is at fault for this disaster."
Walsh has been a
The Illinois lawmaker, a regular on the cable news networks and a strong opponent of federal borrowing, was also in the news earlier this year following an ex-wife's lawsuit for $117,437 in back child support. Walsh disputes the claim.