Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) is attempting damage control following backlash for saying FBI agent Peter Strzok, who texted former FBI lawyer and his mistress Lisa Page that they would “stop” then-candidate Donald Trump from becoming president, deserved a Purple Heart.
Cohen walked back his comment on Friday, expressing regret for suggesting Strzok was worthy of a Purple Heart for his poise during a feisty congressional hearing on his involvement in the investigation into alleged election collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“I said something at the hearings yesterday about Purple Hearts, which another network that’s named for a four-legged animal has been making a big deal about,” he said, seemingly referencing Fox News during an appearance on CNN.
“I regret using the term ‘Purple Heart,’” he continued. “I used it metaphorically, not literally. I never literally thought the Purple Heart should be given to Agent Strzok, but I do believe that he was being attacked because the FBI and the Mueller investigation were under attack.”
“I regret using the term purple heart. I used it metaphorically not literally. I never thought literally it should be given to Agent Strzok.” @RepCohen on his comments during yesterday's House hearing. https://t.co/jBtD1y1BKl
— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) July 13, 2018
Cohen added that attacks against the special counsel and the FBI should stop, saying, “They do not need to be attacked. They are strong units defending America, and these indictments go to prove it once again.”
During Thursday’s congressional hearing, the congressman kicked off his questioning of Strzok by saying, “I don’t know where to start. If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would.”
Dem. Rep. Steve Cohen to disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok: "If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would. You deserve one." pic.twitter.com/FCCfFDLsZo
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) July 12, 2018
Cohen faced criticism for the remark, with fellow Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) calling it “an insult to the honor, valor, and service of men and women who truly earned its recognition.”