State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, called a group of veterans traitors who "promote the leftist propaganda of global warming and climate change," during their Pennsylvania bus tour.
The group, called Operation Free, is on a 21-state bus tour its members say is designed to alert citizens and community leaders to the dangers of climate change and what they say is its threat to national security.
Rep. Metcalfe was informed of their visit by an email sent to area elected leaders in each town the group plans to visit.
Yesterday, the group said, he responded with an email blasting them as traitors.
"As a veteran, I believe that any veteran lending their name, to promote the leftist propaganda of global warming and climate change, in an effort to control more of the wealth created in our economy, through cap and tax type policies, all in the name of national security, is a traitor to the oath he or she took to defend the Constitution of our great nation!" Mr. Metcalfe's email reads. "Remember Benedict Arnold before giving credibility to a veteran who uses their service as a means to promote a leftist agenda. Drill Baby Drill!!!"
Rep. Metcalfe, who served in the U.S. Army from 1980-84, today defended the remarks, saying that "if the type of policies that an individual promotes undermines the Constitution and the law of the land in our country, then they are not patriots."
He said "cap and tax" proposals on carbon emissions interfere with the rights of local businesses and states and violate Constitutional principles.
"It looks like, from their violent reaction from their statement, they haven't disputed that it's leftist propaganda," he said of the veterans group.
He previously triggered controversy this year when he opposed a resolution declaring Domestic Violence Awareness month in Pennsylvania because, in addition to the mention of those abused by spouses, the resolution included a reference to men suffering domestic abuse as well.
Mr. Metcalfe said he interpreted that to mean people involved in homosexual relationships and said he would not support it because it "had a homosexual agenda."
Last year he refused to support a vote to honor the 60th anniversary of a Muslim group in the state, because "Muslims don't recognize Jesus Christ as God."
The latest remarks by Mr. Metcalfe brought some angry reactions.
"There are some pretty radical politicians out there who say some pretty outrageous things, but I've never heard anybody call somebody a traitor merely for speaking their mind," said Michael Morrill, a spokesman for Keystone Progress, a left-of-center policy group in Harrisburg that is supporting the bus tour.
Dennis B. Roddy can be reached a firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1965.