Scott Wallace, a Democratic congressional candidate in Pennsylvania, lost his composure and said "fuck," apparently in frustration, during a debate on Sunday. Wallace, who is running against Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), unleashed the expletive during an event at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Bensalem, Pennsylvania.
The candidates were standing on the synagogue’s bimah, an elevated platform used for reading the Torah during services, when Wallace made the remark, according to WBCB News. The rabbi present indicated Wallace had a moment of frustration and said "ah fuck" under his breath, but the outburst was heard by people in the room and left Fitzpatrick "stunned."
"Ironically, there was a later question about the need for civility in politics," Fitzpatrick told WBCB. "Well, a good start is to not use vulgarities in the sanctuary of a synagogue in the middle of a congressional debate."
"You’ll have to ask Scott Wallace what his motivations were," Fitzpatrick added.
"My sense is he was frustrated because I was cross-examining him on the ad he’s running," Fitzpatrick continued, "which is a false ad based on my position on pre-existing conditions. I was asking him a series of questions on what bill he was referring to, had he read it, and he came out with this expletive."
Wallace has claimed Fitzpatrick voted to take away health care coverage from people with pre-existing conditions. The Washington Post‘s fact checker gave the Wallace campaign "Four Pinocchios" for the misleading claim.
The DCCC really crosses the line here. Fitzpatrick bucked his party to vote against one of the president’s top priorities, the repeal of Obamacare, specifically because he was concerned about the impact on people with preexisting conditions. His reward? Being attacked for selling his constituents out on the issue because of his minor procedural votes, when just about every member of Congress sticks to party lines.
The vote that really counted on preexisting conditions was the tough one — on the proposed law itself. You would think the Democrats would at least applaud him for his courage, but apparently that’s not how the game is played these days. The DCCC earns Four Pinocchios.
Wallace released a statement on Monday explaining his remark during the debate, saying it was a result of his passion and frustration.
"I was exasperated by yet another attempt from Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick to hide from his votes to take away protections for people with pre-existing conditions," Wallace said. "I apologize for any offense that might have been taken, I am passionate about protecting people from insurance company abuses, and I’m sorry that in this instance, my frustration got the best of me."
UPDATE 10:29 a.m.: This post has been updated after WBCB said it initially reported Wallace's comment inaccurately. It was "ah fuck" and not "fuck off," and it was not directed at Fitzpatrick personally.