Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson on Wednesday wildly accused Republicans of wishing slavery still existed as he argued that more immigrants were needed in the US to keep Americans from starving.
Johnson lobbed the accusation during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on a bill seeking to make assaulting a law enforcement officer a deportable offense, which he called a GOP attempt to “demonize immigrants.”
“Those folks coming across are the ones who are helping to put food on our table â without them, we’re not able to eat,” Johnson argued. “If all of them were turned away and this legislation passed making it easier to get at people who are already here legally, and you have no immigration, then we would have no food on our plates.”
“We would have nobody taking care of the building, the construction of our homes. We wouldn’t have anybody cleaning up in the hospitals, you know, honest work that deserves an honest day’s pay,â the Georgia Democrat added.
Johnson said Republicans âlike to seeâ immigrants “lined up at the border because they know that’s a stream of labor ready to be exploited with cheap, if any, compensation.”
“I mean, if you could get back to slavery you would gladly do so,” Johnson told his Republican colleagues. “But if you could pay people $1 an hour, you’d settle for that. That’s the race to the bottom that we have with immigrants lined up at the border and trying to get in and go to work.”
Johnsonâs jaw-dropping remark was met with outrage by conservatives.
Thomas Jipping, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said in a tweet that Johnson âshould be censured.â
âIt’s not only factually false, it’s stupid comparing slavery to working for a wage, and just shamelessly insulting,â Jipping wrote.
Tennessee radio anchor Pamela Furr called the remark, âthe most asinine statement I’ve ever heard.â
Syndicated talk show host Joe Pagliarulo noted, âthe fact that GA keeps voting this guy in is a commentary to how disconnected the voters there must be,â and he accused Johnson of âlying about Rs wanting slavery. HIS party were the slave masters.â
Johnson has a history of making outlandish insinuations and bizarre remarks as a congressman.
In January, Johnson floated a conspiracy theory that sensitive papers found at Bidenâs Delaware home and an office he used at a Washington, DC, think tank could have been âplanted.â
âAlleged classified documents showing up allegedly in the possession of Joseph Bidenâ¦ Iâm suspicious of the timing of it,â Johnson told Fox News.
âIâm also aware of the fact that things can be planted on people, places and things can be planted â¦ things can be planted in places and then discovered conveniently,â Johnson went on, suggesting the possibility of an unprecedented break-in taking place at the presidentâs own home.
Johnson also once worried that Guam could sink if too many people were allowed to inhabit the island.
During a 2010 House Armed Services Committee meeting, Johnson questioned now-retired Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, about the effects of US troops on Guam.
âMy fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize,â a straight-faced Johnson asked the commander, who assured the congressman that that wasnât a concern.