Former U.S. Attorney Calls Out Republican Congressman for Saying Dems 'Love' Terrorists: 'You Should Know Better'

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara writes that GOP Representative Doug Collins "should know better" after saying that Democrats "love" terrorists.

In a CNN op-ed, Bharara, a CNN legal analyst, tore into Collins for critical comments the Georgia congressman made about Democrats' response to the drone strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.

"They're in love with terrorists, we see that," Collins told Fox News on Wednesday. "They mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani."

In response, Bharara wrote, "No American is 'in love' with terrorists or 'mourns' the death of that Iranian general on an airstrip in Baghdad. Many of us do, however, mourn the death of decency, honesty and reason here at home."

Bharara also said Americans who disagreed with President Donald Trump's actions are not "unpatriotic or lovers of terrorists." He called Collins' "hostility to differences of opinion" un-American.

Bharara also reminded Collins that militant attacks against Americans are not partisan in terms of their victims. "As you well know, Congressman, terrorists do not kill Republicans or Democrats. They kill Americans," he wrote. He also said prosecutors, law enforcement agents and intelligence officers who try to protect the country from attacks do so as Americans, not as Democrats and Republicans.

In a statement to Newsweek, Collins addressed the controversy surrounding his comments. "Let me be clear: I do not believe Democrats are in love with terrorists, and I apologize for what I said earlier this week," he said.

While noting that it does not excuse his comments, Collins' statement spoke about his experiences in the Iraq War and his commitment to Americans' safety.

"The comment I made on Wednesday evening was in response to a question about the War Powers Resolution being introduced in the House and House Democrats' attempt to limit the president's authority," he continued. "As someone who served in Iraq in 2008, I witnessed firsthand the brutal death of countless soldiers who were torn to shreds by this vicious terrorist. Soleimani was nothing less than an evil mastermind who viciously killed and wounded thousands of Americans."

Collins went on: "These images will live with me for the rest of my life, but that does not excuse my response on Wednesday evening. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and with my fellow citizens to keep all Americans safe."

But in his CNN op-ed, Bharara called out Collins for taking a "cheap shot" while in a powerful position. "To utter such garbage, which you know to be false and defamatory, goes against all the training and teaching you must have received," the former U.S. attorney wrote.

Bharara clarified that he was not making a call for civility but expressing his hope that "people like you...knock off the worst scurrilous nonsense." Language such as that used by Collins does not help the American people, he added.

"If we are going to come together, protect the homeland and heal the hearts of people who have suffered the scars of terrorism, we need our leaders to do better than lazy trash talk," Bharara wrote.

He closed his piece by reminding him the congressman of his duty: "You were elected to lead. Please give it a try."

Doug Collins
House Judiciary Committee ranking member Doug Collins attends a House Rules Committee hearing on the impeachment against President Donald Trump on December 17, 2019. Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty