During a speech Thursday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), let loose in his commentary on the Affordable Care Act.
“We also finally did away with the individual mandate tax that was established under that wonderful bill called ‘Obamacare,’ Hatch, who is retiring after this term, said while discussing the Republican tax overhaul.
“Now, if you didn’t catch on, I was being very sarcastic. That was the stupidest, dumbass bill that I’ve ever seen. Now, some of you may have loved it. If you do, you are one of the stupidest, dumbass people I’ve ever met. This was one—and there are a lot of ’em up on Capitol Hill from time to time.”
Following local reports on the comment, Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock told the Deseret News that the senator’s remark was meant as a joke.
“The comments were obviously made in jest, but what’s not a joke is the harm Obamacare has caused for countless Utahns,” Whitlock said.
According to Deseret News, Hatch also joked about getting a new job after his time in Congress is up.
“I don’t want to make this event awkward for anyone, but if any of you know who might be hiring, please put in a good word for me,” Hatch reportedly joked. “I’ve got a fair amount of experience, but even if it’s not technically enough for a particular job, I’m a really quick learner. I’ll make sure you all get a copy of my résumé.”
On Friday, Hatch issued an apology for the remarks saying: “Yesterday, I made a poorly worded joke about Obamacare supporters—a joke that was not reflective of my actual feelings towards my friends on the other side. Throughout my term of service, I have always recognized the importance of civility, particularly in engaging with those of different political perspectives. While I occasionally slip up, I believe that my legislative record reflects my commitment to bipartisanship and civility much more than my flippant, off-the-cuff comment.”