Speaking before pastors at a Memphis church in late July, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) urged conservative Congresswoman and Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to jump off a bridge.
In a newly released video published by the Huffington Post, Cohen is heard mocking Blackburn to attendees of a community prayer breakfast held at Broadway Baptist Church over her support of the White House. He said it is his “wish” to see President Donald Trump order her to jump off a bridge.
“The big orange president … He’s going to come down here and he is going to endorse Marsha Blackburn, because Marsha Blackburn, if he says, ‘Jump off the Harahan Bridge,’ she’ll jump off the Harahan Bridge,” the Democrat lawmaker said. “I wish he’d say that.” The crowd could be heard laughing in response to Cohen’s remark.
The gathering was organized by the Tennessee Democrat Senate candidate Gov. Phil Bredesen, who currently leads Blackburn by only 4.5 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.
Bredesen and Blackburn easily won their respective primary races, with the Associated Press declaring both of them the nominees “just minutes” after voting ended.
“This race is going to be centered on differences,” Blackburn said shortly after winning the Republican nomination. “This is not a race about the past, it’s a race about the future. This is about how Tennesseans want to be represented in the U.S. Senate. They keep talking about this big blue wave sweeping the nation. But, thanks to you, that big blue wave is going to be a big red wall when it gets to the Tennessee border.”
After the video was published, the Democrat lawmaker attempted to walk back the remarks in a phone interview with the Huffington Post. “It was obviously humor,” Cohen claimed. “I wish her no harm. I hope she doesn’t get the Senate. And I wish she wasn’t a lackey for Trump. But I don’t wish her physical harm.”
Cohen, who easily defeated a pair of unknown primary challengers last week, is no stranger to blowback over eyebrow-raising comments. On July 16, the 69-year-old lawmaker implied the United States military should wage a coup to remove President Trump following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.
“Where are our military folks? The Commander in Chief is in the hands of our enemy!” He wrote in response to a tweet about the president questioning the U.S. intelligence’s assessment of Kremlin-back election meddling during the 2016 presidential election.
Where are our military folks ? The Commander in Chief is in the hands of our enemy! https://t.co/3eF7OLKEdN
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) July 16, 2018
After sending the controversial tweet, Cohen lamented how users were misconstruing his remark. “Talk about jumping to conclusions without talking to source. No coup called for,” claimed Cohen. “I seriously doubt anyone would use twitter to do .. one tweet if by land two if by sea…Wow.”
Talk about jumping to conclusions without talking to source. No coup called for . I seriously doubt anyone would use twitter to do .. one tweet if by land two if by sea…Wow https://t.co/3d0uhGa57t
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) July 16, 2018
One week prior, Cohen contended disgraced FBI special agent Peter Strzok should receive a Purple Heart during a heated House Judiciary Committee hearing, where he was asked a series of tough questions from Republican lawmakers about his anti-Trump bias. “If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would. You deserve one,” the Democrat congressman told Strzok. “This has been an attack on you, in a way to attack Mr. Mueller, in the investigation that is to get at Russia collusion involved in our election.” The decoration is award to military members who were wounded or killed in combat.
Cohen soon after took to Twitter to clarify the remark about Strzok deserving a Purple Heart. “My intent was to speak metaphorically to make a broader point about attacks against the FBI and Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller’s investigation into a Russian attack on our country,” he wrote.