Posted on July 14, 2023

Arizona Republican’s ‘Colored People’ Remark Draws Floor Rebuke

Mychael Schnell and Mike Lillis, The Hill, July 13, 2023

A first-term Republican lawmaker referred to African Americans as “colored people” on the House floor Thursday, prompting outrage from Democrats and a quick rebuke from the chamber’s presiding officer.

Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) was reprimanded after he took to the floor to promote an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that he says will rein in Defense Department “wokeness” — a racially charged concept that has divided the parties and the country in recent years.

During debate over the amendment, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) — the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus — railed against the measure, arguing that Republicans were “setting us back.”


Crane, a former Navy Seal, shot back after Beatty concluded her remarks, arguing that his amendment “has nothing to do with whether or not colored people or Black people or anybody can serve.”


Once Crane wrapped up his comments, Beatty asked that his words “colored people” be stricken from the official record, calling it “offensive and very inappropriate.”

“I am asking for unanimous consent to take down the words of referring to me or any of my colleagues as colored people,” she said.

Crane initially responded by asking to amend his comments to say “people of color.” But Beatty wasn’t satisfied, asking again that his words be stricken, not altered. The lawmaker presiding over the near-empty chamber consented.

Hours later, in a statement, Crane said he “misspoke” while debating his amendment.


The contentious exchange came during debate over the annual NDAA, which, this year, has been highly controversial for a number of proposed amendments related to culture-war issues like abortion, transgender rights and diversity and inclusion initiatives in government.

Crane’s amendment would bar the Pentagon from requiring participation in trainings that teach what many conservatives would call “woke” concepts, specifically prohibiting topics related to race.

He argued that his amendment was “not divisive at all,” adding “what’s divisive is how the military is becoming a political, a social experiment.” {snip}


But it was his “colored people” remark that got most of the attention, drawing sharp criticism from Democratic lawmakers, including the Congressional Black Caucus, which called the comment “unconscionable.”