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House Majority Leader Hoyer says he doesn't accept the 'premise' that Antifa is violent

"I don't know that to be the case," Hoyer said in response to GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert referring to Antifa and BLM as "violent."

Updated: January 5, 2021 - 4:13pm

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Tuesday slammed Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert's recent statement critical of Antifa and Black Lives Matter, also saying he doesn't "accept" the premise those groups are violent.

Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, said Gohmert "seemed to be encouraging people to come to Washington and take up violence, if that were called for, in order to express their belief that this was not an honest, fair election."

Referencing a judge's decision to deny Vice President Mike Pence the ability to overturn election results, Gohmert said, "If bottom line is, the court is saying, 'We're not going to touch this. You have no remedy.' Basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you've got to go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM."

Gohmert walked back the comments over the weekend.

"I have not encouraged and unequivocally do not advocate for violence," Gohmert said. "I have long advocated for following the teachings and example of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of peaceful protest. That does not keep me from recognizing what lies ahead when institutions created by a self-governing people to peacefully resolve their disputes hide from their responsibility. Violence is not the answer. The appropriate answer is courts and self-governing bodies resolving disputes as intended."

Hoyer repeated Gohmert's initial statement about Antifa and BLM on a press call Tuesday with reporters and said his remarks are "worthy of sanction" by the Congress.

"I do not accept that premise on Antifa and BLM, and I don't know that to be the case. But whether it's the case or not; that a member of Congress would suggest that people ought to go to the streets and be as violent as some other group is absolutely astounding, extraordinarily disappointing and worthy of sanction by the Congress of the United States," Hoyer said.