WASHINGTON -- As the list of politicians and groups condemning accusations that individuals are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood continues to grow, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Thursday he doesn't plan to back down.
Instead, he said journalists should just stop asking other people for their opinions on his Muslim Brotherhood claims.
"I hope that people in the mainstream media will get past the enjoyment of vilifying and trying to destroy the messenger and look at the message," Gohmert said on the House floor. "That they'll get beyond the lazy tactics of calling someone, getting with someone and saying, 'what's your opinion about these allegations' and getting a response, 'well, gee, I don't think there's anything to them' instead of digging the facts out and presenting them as the once proud journalist's tradition was here in America."
Gohmert and four other House Republicans -- Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Thomas Rooney (R-Fla.) and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) -- sent letters to five agency inspectors general last month asking them to investigate potential Muslim Brotherhood influence in government.
The individuals mentioned in the letters have denied those claims, and groups are calling for the members of Congress to drop their effort. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and 41 other religious and secular groups sent a letter to the lawmakers on Thursday, saying their "actions have serious implications for religious freedom and the health of our democracy."
Gohmert, who previously called his critics "numb nuts," said that his claims are correct.
"I have reporters asking me if I want to apologize for five separate letters that were written to five separate inspectors general of five different departments with different facts pertaining to that department in each letter, and the facts in the letter are true," he said.
But some of the condemnations from within his party have come without prompting from the media. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) went to the Senate floor on July 18 to speak out against the letter mentioning State Department aide Huma Abedin, calling it "an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant."
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) joined McCain's sentiments on Twitter. Others, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), also condemned the attacks when asked by reporters, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the accusations were "pretty dangerous."
Gohmert did not discuss the politicians who have spoken out against his letters, keeping his focus squarely on the media.
"Obviously, it's great fun and sport to attack a messenger that is not liked by certain people in the media," he said, "but what we keep seeing that it is amazing is happening and was once the proud tradition of journalism in America, is our national security being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness."