June 17th, 2010
05:54 PM ET
5 years ago

Republican given ultimatum

Rep. Joe Barton was told by House GOP leaders to apologize 'immediately' for saying he was 'ashamed' of the Obama administration for asking BP to establish a fund for damage compensation.
Rep. Joe Barton was told by House GOP leaders to apologize 'immediately' for saying he was 'ashamed' of the Obama administration for asking BP to establish a fund for damage compensation.

Washington (CNN) - Under fire for appearing to shield BP from criticism Thursday morning, Rep. Joe Barton was told by House GOP leaders later in the day to apologize "immediately" or lose his position as the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, several Republican sources tell CNN.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, delivered the pointed demand to Barton, a Texas congressman.

Related: Congressman: 'I am ashamed' of 'shakedown' of BP

"He was told apologize immediately or you will lose your position immediately," said a Republican leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The aide added, "Now that he's apologized, we'll see what happens going forward."

After making his controversial comments to BP CEO Tony Hayward, Barton apologized later in the hearing and then followed up with a stronger written statement.


Filed under: BP • Joe Barton • Oil spill
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Future expat

    So basically, GOP leadership had to threaten Barton in order to get him to issue a retraction.

    I don't think anyone's buying that this apology is sincere.

    June 17, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Barbara Independent in NY

    Does anyone really believe that someone that is forced to apologize really means it? To me this is just more proof that Republicans don't care about the American people or the environment..

    June 17, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. kitty

    That old gas-bag should be forced to retire. He is a digrace to our country and his office. What a pathetic representation of the U.S.
    He should go down in history as one of the lamest, most stupid people we have ever encountered!!!

    June 17, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. tom crepeault

    barton knows about shakdown,because he just got done shaking down Tony Hayward.

    June 17, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. marguerite smith

    I am appalled and totally embarrassed by Joe Barton's comment to Tony Hayward in the opening of the Congressional hearings. I can't fathom what he possibly was thinking and I only hope he has
    committed political suicide!

    June 17, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. shmeckell

    Ok, hold on, this can’t be right. I read the thing like 5 times and every time I read it, it says the same thing. This has to be a joke. Did the GOP just stick up for Obama and at the same time chastise one of their own? Alright, I got to go stock up on can goods and water and get underground.

    June 17, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Terry

    I don't see what everyone is so excited about. A few lives and the loss of the Gulf of Mexico seems like a small price to pay for cheap gas in my Hummer.

    June 17, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  8. Ellen Bille

    I found Joe Barton's apology to Tony Hayward of BP utterly offensive, and further, proof of his personal complicity in a system in which corporate greed is maintained over the funding of industrial catastrophic preparedness. I believe he should resign immediately.

    Ellen Bille
    Friendswood, Texas

    June 17, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. George

    The only reason the GO(B)P is upset is because he said what they really normally say in private in public

    June 17, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Harry Baxter

    I'm optimistic that maybe, finally, the grownups in the GOP are starting to realize that nuts like Barton are driving the party off a cliff, and have decided to silence some of their irresponsible comments. I can hope, I guess.

    June 17, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. Archie Grine

    Why is Mr. Barton forced to apologize for what he truely believes??? He is only being honest about his feelings!!! At least 2/3 of the Republicans in Congress feel the same way....they are just not being open and honest about it.

    June 17, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. jilli

    He should still lose his position.

    His comments are unexcusable and his intention is absolutely astounding – his words paint a pretty clear picture of whose interests are nearest and dearest to him. The apology was forced and held no sincerity – he wouldn't have said it if he didn't mean it.

    He's no better than Bachmann and Price who have echoed similiar sentiments. It's the GO(B)P, corporations first.

    June 17, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  13. Shaun

    Because everyone knows an apology is proof that he didn't really mean what he said.

    June 17, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  14. Patek

    BP must have paid him a pretty penny. I love these lemon heads with no conscious nor care besides their own self preservation and bashing of our President.

    June 17, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. SuperHiro

    I hope he got a fat check from BP for having the bawls to actually make that statement.

    June 17, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Timothy Keith

    This is a prime example of why Republicans are having a hard time nationally. It is clear that Big Corporation agenda is more important than "us little people".

    To JOE:

    There is nothing more digusting than for you to literally crawl on your stomache like the worm and defend BP. You turned your back on the American people and just like a puppy, you sat at the feet of Tony Hayward (BP, CEO) to get a head pat "good doggy"! You look like a real fool today and although the Republican party leader distance the entire Republican party from your HIGHLY charged comments, they will feel the pressure for months to come.

    Are you American? It was nothing more powerful, than when America bonded together during 9/11 in a common cause. Apparently, you Republicans cannot embrace a bonded America! I have no problem supporting either side when the parties are working together like they should be, despite the differences. YOU FAILED at it today! BE AMERICAN, BE AMERICAN or get your citizenship changed and represent BP permanently!

    June 17, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. jbf-alaska

    Jerk – this guy heads the Energy Committee for the United States of America – how?? How can that even be imaginable in this day and age.

    May God have mercy on this great nation.

    June 17, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. The_Traveler

    How utterly pathetic. What a great example of what our system of government has become. Barton makes a comment, his own opinion, then retracts it because his "party" members threaten him. It doesn't matter if anyone agrees or disagrees with him. It's a matter of someone's First Amendment rights being trod on for the "good of the party".

    I can think of a few other "parties" throughout history that used threats and coercion to keep their members in line...

    June 17, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. Tony FL

    So REPUBLICANS were not so concerned with TAXPAYERS being “shaken down” for the TARP funds? Or that the government would somehow “skim” the TARP, or that TARP was “wealth re-distribution” which by the way it was a classic example of…But when the hardworking Americans need help – from unemployment caused by poor regulations and drunken bank-casino orgy, to being compensated for the huge BP oil spill disaster – REPUBLICANS ARE CONCERNED! They are so concerned, they are apologizing to some british c-level corporate pukes! TARP was 35 TIMES LARGER than the $20BILLION BP fund. This is the true face of the REPUBLICAN GOP, remember NOVEMBER!!!

    June 17, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. offworld

    Joe Barton should resign from the House. He is prime example of the sickness that has infected U.S. Politics

    June 17, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. Greg Ebert

    I never thought I would live to see the day when Republicans criticized one of their own for defending Big Oil.

    June 17, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. lucy

    He apologised to a company whose negligence just killed 11 men. Unbelievable.

    June 17, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. Brandon

    They hate Pres. Obama so much they are tripping over their own words. What a bunch of idiots. The GOP and Tea Party want this country to be on the decline and destroyed just so they can take power again.

    June 17, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. reggie

    Funny how he started to point false implications towards the administration and then it turns out his own party are the ones who strong armed him with an ultimatum.

    June 17, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. Bill in Austin

    Shouldn't Bachmann have to apologize? Didn't she say something about BP not being "chumps" or not being "fleeced"? Not contributing funds for permanent unemployment? I guess she says so many outlandish things, this is Michelle, being Michelle-nuts.

    June 17, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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