A candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in Georgia admitted on Tuesday it was “stupid” for him to say he’d “rather see another terrorist attack” than go through the current Transportation Security Agency screenings process at a candidate forum in February.
Politico published video of the comments from Bob Johnson, a doctor who is running for a House seat in Georgia’s first congressional district Tuesday. According to Politico, Johnson prefaced his comments by positing he was about to say something that would “sound outrageous.”
“I’d rather see another terrorist attack, truly I would, than to give up my liberty as an American citizen,” Johnson said at the forum. ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ Isn’t that what Patrick Henry said at the founding of our republic?”
In a statement Tuesday, Johnson said he could have chosen his words more carefully. However, he also doubled down on his criticsm of the TSA’s screening procedures.
“As a 26 year Army Ranger, head and neck surgeon and even a Christian medical missionary, I’ve sworn my life to defending this country and keeping people safe,” Johnson said in a statement emailed to Business Insider by a spokesman. “And as a Constitutional conservative, it angers me that we are giving up our liberty to the bureaucratic TSA and spying on our own people in the name of false security and that has to stop.”
Johnson went on to admit he “said something stupid.”
“I’m very passionate about the ideals of liberty, freedom and maintaining a strong national defence, and these conservative ideals shouldn’t be at odds with each other. In the heat of the moment, while making the point that I would much rather fight the enemy than our federal government, I said something stupid and should have chosen my words more carefully.”
Johnson will go head-to-head with a number of other Republicans in a May 20 primary to replace Rep. Jack Kingston, who is running for U.S. Senate. Other top candidates include state Sen. Buddy Carter, state Rep. Jeff Chapman, and unsuccessful former state House candidate Darwin Carter.
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