Gibbs Calls for Barton’s Head

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs thinks Joe Barton (R-Texas) should lose his position as the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee for his BP brown-nosing earlier today (which he later apologized for … sort of).

Gibbs even took the issue to Twitter:

Who would the GOP put in charge of overseeing the energy industry & Big Oil if they won control of Congress? Yup, u guessed it – JOE BARTON

Here’s what Gibbs said about it at today’s press conference, via The Daily Caller:

Prior to Barton’s apology, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that the Texas Republican should lose his status as ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee because of his apology to BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward.

“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves whether Representative Barton should be the ranking member on a committee that is doing what it is doing,” Gibbs said.

“It’s a fairly pointed comment about the notion of whether BP is going to be responsible for the damage it has caused,” Gibbs said. “Is somebody who’s going to oversee — as we look into what the company is doing, to begin by apologizing to the company, I think is an interesting way to start.” Asked whether he was calling on Barton to resign his ranking member seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Gibbs said, “I will let Republicans make that decision.”

Actually, Gibbs is a little off. We can at least rest securely in the knowledge that, even if Barton isn’t forced out over this incident and even if the Republicans retake the House in the near future, the Texas Republican would be precluded from retaking the chairmanship of the committee by term limits. At least that’s one thing to be thankful for.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest