In a constituent meeting gone awry that was captured on shaky, amateur video, embattled Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) berated a group of local activists who oppose amnesty legislation, suggesting they were racist and saying they didn't have “any damn facts.”
“You're telling me what people have told you? You don't have any damn facts!” Ellmers exploded at one of the activists when he said that employers – who often claim a labor shortage to argue for amnesty – frequently don't post job openings in that region.
“Facts – numbers. Facts – documents,” Ellmers lectured, her voice dripping with disdain. She went on to attribute the activist's views to “resentment...because of a personal issue that you experienced,” later referring to a local company that had laid off workers. “I know where your hatred and vitriol is coming from,” she added.
The incident is the second time in a little more than a week that Ellmers has suffered an embarrassing public outburst over the immigration issue – the first coming March 13 in an interview with nationally syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham, whom Ellmers called “ignorant” and “small-minded.” She also ran into trouble when she claimed to have the same position on the issue as Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), only to have Lee's communications director publicly distance his boss from Ellmers' position.
The Randolph Tea Party posted YouTube videos of the meeting after immigration activist Ron Woodard, the head of a non-profit organization called NC Listen, wrote about his meeting with Ellmers.
"I have arranged 11 group trips to Washington, DC over the last 12 years to meet with US House members and US Senators from North Carolina to discuss immigration reform, not to mention other trips I made to DC myself and local trips, so I have had a lot of experience meeting with members of Congress," Woodard wrote onConservativeHQ.com. "Today's meeting with Congresswoman Ellmers was the most contemptible meeting with a member of Congress I have taken part in. From the beginning she showed a sense of arrogance and disdain for meeting with us."
Ellmers supports “legal status” for millions of illegal aliens and has supported a path to citizenship for at least some of them.
"I believe that in addition to securing our borders, the best course of action is one that provides an earned legal work status that would not be given indiscriminately," Ellmers wrote in a Jan. 18 op-ed for the Fayetteville Observer. "Instead, it would be contingent on some combination of paying a penalty, admitting to violating the law, and verifying identity. Only after this legal work status is obtained can individuals have the opportunity to begin the naturalization process."
At a March 15 event in her district, Ellmers said, “My position is the same position that Ted Cruz has, my position is the same position that Rand Paul, Mike Lee [have].”
But when the quote became public, Lee's communications director Brian Phillips told Breitbart News that Ellmers' op-ed made it sound like she supports the Senate "Gang of Eight" bill that Lee, Cruz and Paul all opposed.
"Sen. Lee's position has been very clear: piecemeal legislation, one bill at a time, verify and evaluate each step as we implement the reforms,” Phillips said. “We have read Rep. Ellmers' most recent op-ed on reform and it sounds a lot like how the Gang of Eight tried to sell comprehensive immigration reform, something Sen. Lee spent several months last year opposing.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top business interests who support amnesty have rushed to Ellmers' rescue, purchasing an eye-popping ad buy on her behalf.
A spokesman for Ellmers did not respond to a request for comment.