A Republican member of the House of Representatives accused President Barack Obama of being "an enemy of humanity" during a conservative values forum this past weekend.
In a speech Saturday before the How to Take Back America conference, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) made comments that went far beyond the limits of traditional White House criticism. At one point, Franks demanded that Obama release his birth certificate to prove his constitutional eligibility to hold office. The bluntest charge, however, centered on the president's position on abortion, which the congressman derided as "insane" and godless.
"Obama's first act as president of any consequence, in the middle of a financial meltdown, was to send taxpayers' money overseas to pay for the killing of unborn children in other countries," said Frank. "Now, I got to tell you, if a president will do that, there's almost nothing that you should be surprised at after that. We shouldn't be shocked that he does all these other insane things. A president that has lost his way that badly, that has no ability to see the image of God in these little fellow human beings, if he can't do that right, then he has no place in any station of government and we need to realize that he is an enemy of humanity."
A Franks spokeswoman clarified that he was referring only to the president's position on abortion.
Bethany Haley said the congressman was referring to "unborn humanity" and should have clarified his statement. She also said that Franks meant to say that Obama's abortion-related policies have no place in government, rather than that Obama has no place in government.
"He was just referring to the way President Obama has set himself up as the most pro-abortion president in America's history," Haley said.
The video, which went largely unnoticed before being passed along to the Huffington Post by People For the American Way's Right Wing Watch, is the latest in a line of extraordinarily blunt and personal attacks on the president by his Republican critics.
It is also one of the sharpest jabs taken at Obama on cultural issues by a sitting member of Congress. Much of the conservative angst with the president to date has centered on matters of government spending, health care, and judicial nominees -- the logical extension of the White House and Congress's intense focus on those three issues. But it is also, in some ways, a reflection of the extent to which religious conservatism has been marginalized in recent months.
"Rep. Trent Franks' remarks at the How to Take Back America Conference show a stunning lack of respect for our president and the office of the presidency itself," said Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way in a statement. "Rep. Franks is following the lead of Glenn Beck, but he's a member of Congress, not a talk show host, and he should act like one. Americans, and especially members of Congress, should be able to disagree passionately about politics without making wild and irresponsible accusations."
"President Obama's views on reproductive rights are supported by a majority of Americans, and it is outrageous for Rep. Franks to claim that anyone who holds such views is unfit for public office and an 'enemy of humanity,'" Keegan added. "Rep. Franks, like Rep. Joe Wilson before him, owes President Obama an apology."