Cantor shifts tone on Occupy Wall Street protestors
October 11th, 2011
03:34 PM ET
8 years ago

Cantor shifts tone on Occupy Wall Street protestors

Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Tuesday attempted to walk back comments he made last week when he referred to those participating in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations as "the growing mobs."

In his weekly session with reporters on Capitol Hill, Cantor said he understands why people are out on the streets protesting.

"People are upset and they're justifiably frustrated. They're out of work. The economy is not moving," Cantor said. "Their sense of security for the future is not clear at all. People are afraid and I get it."

But while refraining from using the term "mob" Cantor repeated his criticism of political leaders, indirectly aimed at Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, who he maintained were using the protestors to encourage a divide between people and the financial sector.

"I don't believe that our role is to inflame a division between different parts and sectors of American society," Cantor said.

The number two House GOP leader argued that policies enacted in Washington are "making matters worse" and he cited the stimulus package and the financial regulatory reform law.
When asked about Cantor's original description of the protestors on Tuesday, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he "I certainly don't think they're a mob."

Hoyer, like Cantor, said the demonstrations were a reflection of the "angst" on the part of Americans who are fearful about the economy.

The Maryland Democrat argued that the town hall meetings in the summer of 2009 around the health care debate, many attended by tea party protestors, were "much more confrontational in many respects" than the recent demonstrations around the country.

But Cantor said the tea party movement that was "very different" than the Occupy Wall Street protests in that it was aimed at the government, not a particular private sector.

"The tea party were individuals that were attempting to address their grievances, seeking redress of their grievances from the government that they elected. Different, from what I see, from the protestors that I see on Wall Street and elsewhere, who again who are pitting themselves against others outside government in America," Cantor said.

Filed under: Congress • Eric Cantor • House • Occupy Wall Street
soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Greg in Arkansas

    Can'tor must have figured out that there might be some "indepent" folks that are upset with wall street and might vote with the democrats out of frustration next year since the jobs, jobs, jobs teaparty folks haven't lived up to their campaign promises of the last election.

    October 11, 2011 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Frank

    Dear Mr. Cantor,
    Im sure it is just unthinkable that people outside of the government might be part of the cause of our nations problems. God save the free market and unlimitid corporate campaign contributions.

    October 11, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Bill

    When the tea bagger were protesting on Capitol Hill carrying signs of Obama made up as Hitler, calling him a socialist, and saying he was un-American, even spitting on Congressman – they were patriots (and were egged on by GOP members from the Capitol windows). When folks protest on Wall street against big banks and corporate greed (the people Cantor and his sleazy wife are in bed with) , they are a mob. This slimeball does not deserve to be in elected office.

    October 11, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. catwill

    Too late Rep Cantor we know what you said and those good citizens will remember that you called them a mob.

    October 11, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Jim

    Once again this guy shows his true colors - he's just the lowest form of politician. He says what he thinks, then backtracks like mad when the reaction to his comments are not what he hoped. As a front for corporate interests, Cantor is in no position to pontificate on the divisions between working people and Wall Street interests. His "side" is all too clear - and shame on him. He needs to support the people who elected him, but instead cow-tows to those lining his pockets. He's a disgrace.

    October 11, 2011 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. texan

    Sure he understands !!!!! But it hasn`t directly affected him as millions (99% ers). -- He could do nothing but brag and condone the Tea party when they "mobbed" the White House and around DC.--- Just depends on whose side you`re sympathies lay. Just one of the Do Nothing, feet dragging Republicans we now have in Congress.

    October 11, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. BeverlyNC

    Cantor is nothing but a weasel who cares only about himself and his attempt to stab Boehner in the back to try to get his job. Cantor is NO leader. He is the one who wanted to deny FEMA help to victims of Hurricane Irene – and some were in his OWN district. I hope they remember that in 2012. He is a do-nothing that needs to lose his job and then maybe he will suddenly also care about job creation efforts.

    October 11, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    These GOP turds moonwalk more often than MJ ever did. We already know how you really feel about people demanding a more egalitarian society, you heap of societal filth. You and the GOP and Teatrolls told us all when you opened your mouths on the subject the first time. Go back under your birdges and back to your plutocratic plotting.

    October 11, 2011 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. LovesIrony

    Cantor says he understands why people are protesting.. Time for another tax cut for the wealthy that will help them.

    October 11, 2011 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Sandy

    Cantor is getting scared!

    October 11, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Buzzwad

    Mr. Cantor and Senator Hatch (R)-Utah do not like these people because they are calling a spade a spade. I have never understood why half of the middle class supports the GOP. The richest people in America like everything just everything the way it is/was. They have all the money and a bunch of fools supporting them and the rich were happy nobody really knew about it. The top 5 Big Oil companies have made over 67 billion $$$ this year and the GOP continues to tell us they need tax breaks! Give me a break!! The Democrats represent the working man, not the rich and corporate America...

    October 11, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. Ron

    I still have trouble understanding how Congress with an approval rateing of less than 20% thinks they are doing a good job. Cantor had to back up his remarks since a few months ago he was cheering when the tea party was on the street spitting on the presidents picture. Of course that was when the tea party were doing to GOP dirty work..... The Wall street protesters are attacking the sacred cows.... the rich bankers who fund the GOP....

    October 11, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. mike

    he is an arrogant jerk!

    October 11, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. james Miller

    Cantor may " GET IT ", but he hasn`t "GOT IT".

    October 11, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Karl


    The real 'MOB' is the House Republicans who are protesting en masse against EVERYTHING proposed by our president. This house mob's main objective is not to focus on the economic issues facing the families of the protesters, but to defeat Obama simply because he is an African American president.

    Cantor obviously is far removed from the economic problems facing these poor people. After all is one of those rich republicans who is bent on unleashing the whip of those greedy corporate executives on poor people.

    October 11, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Brian, Nj

    Mr. Cantor,

    Biggest fraud inflicted on the Americal people was the sub-prime mortgage/credit default swap fiasco. Your party, with assistance from man Dems, did nothing to prevent this fraud. All the citizens want is justice (no one went to jail), and fairness in who has to repay the added debt incurred to prevent another Great Depression (rich people whose income has risen during all of this).

    October 11, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. mark celestin

    Why is this guy still part of our government. We should be outraged by this guy. They are killing the economy to make the president look incompetent. While protect the wealth of the billionaires and millionaires.

    October 11, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. Texas

    Cantor is a poor excuse for a human being. They don't come much worse except for maybe Walker. They must be related.

    October 11, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. floridares

    Hey Eric,
    You were fine with the Tea Party mobs at Town Hall meetings and outside Capital when it suited GOP but Dems exercising same rights is MOB according to Cantor and GOP.

    What a binch of lying hypicrites.

    October 11, 2011 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. S.positive

    Well Well Well. You have already spoken and the Occupy Wall Streeters heard your insult. They will RESPOND in Nov 2012 to Kick you and the GOP led do nothing congress out of power. Plain and simple...
    Everyone is beginning to figure out that Nov 2010 was a big American mistake...

    October 11, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. DIANA

    Put your money, (literally) where your mouth is Cantor – Pass President Obama's reform bi ll.

    October 11, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. logic in LA

    He must have seen a new poll saying they are supported by a lot of people. The one thing he had right- growing

    October 11, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. Toni

    Mr. Cantor,
    You don't want to get it! We're upset at Wall Street, you, and your tea party supporters because your actions encourage the Financiers and Bankers and big business in general to take advantage of ordinary people.

    October 11, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Joan

    Don't worry. The Democrats will have all of the clips and sound bites of Cantor and other Republicans criticizing and making fun of the Wall Street protestors and saying they have no right to do this. Then they can also show them saying exactly the opposite when the Tea Pary did the same thing and praising their right to protest. HYPOCRITES!

    October 11, 2011 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  25. Malory Archer

    Too late can'tor! That Genie is out of the bottle and she isn't going back in. I, for one, plan to remind the American electorate every day until November 2012 about this POS's comments pertaining to the 99% of us he and the rethugliban/teabaggers DON'T work for! Kiss your cushy job goodbye girly man! You and your ilk are outta here in 12.5 months!

    October 11, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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