Members of the right-wing are accusing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of exaggerating her emotions to evade questions on Benghazi during a contentious hearing on Capitol Hill. Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson told Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes Wednesday afternoon he thought Clinton’s more emotional response was inauthentic. “It was theatrics,” Johnson said. “She didn’t want to answer questions so she makes a big show of it.”
“I wasn’t trying to get under her skin, I was just trying to get a relatively simple question answered, which she didn’t really want to answer,” Johnson said.
He later told Buzzfeed, “I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card.”
His comments come after a testy exchange between the two as Johnson pressed Clinton on the information about the perpetrators being shared by State Department officials in the days after the attack.
“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” Clinton said, as Johnson uninterrupted her. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk last night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”
As if on cue, right-wing radio hosts began echoing those arguments in even stronger terms.
“She did what all Clintons do when they’re cornered and when they’re guilty: attack,” Sean Hannity said on his radio show. “What you saw in this answer, this anger, this outrage, I can tell you was not spontaneous. I’m telling you it was staged, probably at the direction of the raging Cajun James Carville or somebody else.”
Rush Limbaugh attacked Clinton on similar terms. “She opened up crying, which is part of the script,” he said on his radio show, while calling the hearing a “puke fest.”
It’s not the first time Clinton’s been accused of using her emotions for political gain. She received similar jabs from critics after a teary-eyed moment during a 2008 New Hampshire campaign stop.