A Republican House member shouted “You lie” during President Obama’s health care speech to Congress on Wednesday, and members of both parties condemned the heckling.
After the speech, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson issued a statement apologizing for his outburst.
“This evening, I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill,” the statement said. “While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility.”
Wilson also called the White House to apologize and spoke with Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who accepted the apology on the president’s behalf, according to a senior administration official.
“We can disagree without being disagreeable,” Emanuel said to Wilson, according to the official. “That was the point of the president’s speech.”
The outburst came when Obama denied that proposed health care legislation would provide free health coverage for illegal immigrants. Immediately, Wilson shouted, “You lie!”
The outburst caused Obama to stop and look toward the heckler. “That’s not true,” the president responded.
Behind him, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared shocked and turned toward the outburst as Vice President Joe Biden looked down and shook his head. Loud boos echoed through the chamber immediately after the outburst.