U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry’s Facebook page has been flooded with hundreds — possibly thousands — of demands that he apologize for his treatment of consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren during a congressional oversight hearing Tuesday in which he essentially called her a liar.
Warren is the Harvard law professor who is putting together the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a key cog in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and a big thorn in the side of major financial institutions.
McHenry, a Cherryville Republican, is a leading recipient of financial money, but also has a reputation as something of a firebrand, reports Washington correspondent Barbara Barrett.
“Be ashamed!” wrote Stephen Borg Cardona on McHenry’s Facebook wall.
“Wow. Such hatred and disrespect,” wrote Kathleen Standard.
He’s been called a fool, asked to resign and advised to practice an apology in front of the mirror. “It’s not that hard,” wrote Gary Votour.
Others are taking to Twitter to communicate their anger. Between the two sites, he’s been called rude, arrogant, ignorant, pig-headed and a few names we can’t print.
Not everyone was there to hate, though. A Facebook poster named Jason Burgess wrote, “Rep. McHenry, you make me quite proud of you!”
Many of the posters accused McHenry of deleting earlier posts on the website. Some offered online links to McHenry’s campaign donors, which include N.C.-based Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other major financial institutions.
McHenry began Tuesday’s hearing hostile toward Warren, and she responded sharply in kind. Afterward, he told reporters she had a “sense of entitlement” in wanting to hold the committee to the one-hour timeframe to which she had committed for the hearing.
The exchanges between McHenry and Warren broke down near the end of the one-hour hearing. The two argued about whether she had to leave the room at 2:15 p.m. for a scheduled meeting, or could hang out for another 20 minutes to answer questions from two committee members who were down on the House floor voting.
The hearing’s time had been repeatedly changed in the previous day, and Warren’s staff had to juggle her calendar but said she would have to leave at 2:15 p.m., she said.
When McHenry asked whether Warren could stay, she answered, “Congressman, you are causing problems. … You told us one thing.”
McHenry answered: “I told you nothing. … We had a request-“
Warren responded: “We had an agreement.”
Said McHenry: “You’re making this up, Ms. Warren. This is not the case; this is not the case.”
The argument was largely immaterial, but offered insight into the relationship Warren and McHenry can expect as they move forward with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
And U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the full committee’s top Democrat, offered a warning to McHenry.
“Mr. Chairman, you just did something that -- I mean to be cordial here, but you just accused the professor of lying,” Cummings said quietly.
In the end, Warren left for her meeting, agreeing to answer further questions in writing. And McHenry toned it down. “Ms. Warren,” McHenry said, “I appreciate your service to our government. I do.”