Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) criticized GOP Rep. Troy Nehls (Texas) Tuesday after he said she wouldn’t need protection from threats if she wasn’t “so loud all the time.”
Nehls made the remarks after Bush confirmed she was under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) over campaign spending for security services.
“She doesn’t even support the police,” Nehls said Tuesday. “But the idea to pay her thug, money to try to help protect her this and that, for what?” Nehls said. “Maybe if she wouldn’t be so loud all the time, maybe she wouldn’t be getting threats.”
Asked if he was saying Bush deserved to be threatened, Nehls said: “No, what I’m saying is, is that when you’re out there talking the way she does, I am [not] surprised that people are probably upset because she is pretty radical. And maybe she should tone it down a little bit.”
Bush said Nehls’s use of the word “thug” was a reference to her husband, who she had paid for security prior to their February 2023 marriage, and demanded an apology.
“@RepTroyNehls just called my husband, a Black man and army veteran, a thug,” Bush wrote Tuesday night on X, formerly known as Twitter. “And I’m the loud Black woman who needs to be silent in order to be safe from violence, or else? This is the kind of rhetoric that endangers Black lives. He must apologize.”
Bush’s office confirmed Tuesday that the DOJ is conducting a probe into her campaign spending on security services.
Bush is also being investigated by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the House Ethics Committee.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) filed a complaint last March over Bush’s potential use of campaign funds for personal use. The watchdog group alleged that Bush paid $60,000 for security to Cortney Merritts with whom she had a personal relationship before getting elected in 2021. Bush married Merritts in February last year.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a “squad” member along with Bush, chimed in on the dispute Tuesday night, criticizing Nehls’s comments as a racist trope and calling for him to apologize.
“The loud black woman trope is racist and tired,” Omar wrote Tuesday night on X. “The Congressman should apologize and all members of Congress should condemn him. No one in our government deserves to be threatened regardless how loud they advocate for their positions and blaming the victim of harassment and threats can’t be condoned.”
Bush said Tuesday that she is aware of the investigation into her campaign spending and that she is fully cooperative.
“First and foremost, I hold myself, my campaign, and my position to the highest levels of integrity. I also believe in transparency which is why I can confirm that the Department of Justice is reviewing my campaign’s spending on security services. We are fully cooperating in this investigation, and I would like to take this opportunity to outline the facts and the truth,” Bush wrote in a statement Tuesday.