U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy talks to reporters over a conference call on July 16, 2019.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said in a conference call with reporters this morning that he “disagreed” with the series of tweets President Donald Trump sent Sunday about four Democratic congresswomen of color.

But Cassidy also said he thought calling the president “racist” for the comments — in which he said the congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” — was hypocritical.

“I disagree with the president’s tweet but I find it incredibly rich that a group of four, among who have made anti-Semitic remarks, are accusing others of being racist,” Cassidy said, referencing comments U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota made about Israel earlier this year, for which she later apologized.

“I certainly hope that some of the Democratic presidential hopefuls will begin to disassociate themselves from these four as opposed to court them for their support,” he added.

Trump’s tweets seemed to be directed toward Reps. Omar, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Omar is a Somali refugee and a United States citizen. Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley were all born in the U.S.

The president has continued to double down on his comments and has made additional negative comments about the congresswomen, which many have also called racist. 

Members of both parties have said the comments and the media attention surrounding them are a distraction comments from policy issues. Cassidy echoed that sentiment in his call with reporters.

“For the moment, it will be the news cycle,” he said, adding that his office is working on  legislation to make drug prices more affordable and reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which will expire in September — bipartisan issues he said Louisiana residents care about in the long-term.

‘If I go to church and somebody is pulling on this lapel and that lapel, one’s a Bernie Sanders (supporter) and the other is a Donald Trump supporter, and they’re both speaking about the same thing — it is the need to lower drug prices,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy touted Congress’ ban last year on “gag clauses” that prevented pharmacists from telling customers whether their prescription would cost less if they paid out-of-pocket instead of using their insurance but said there was still work to be done.

“We’re also addressing the fact that pharmaceutical companies use laws designed to promote innovation instead to protect their profits by eliminating competition, which means that you and I, the patient pays more,” he said.

Cassidy also said he supported legislation that would allow small amounts of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to go to countries in the Caribbean, which he said would decrease global greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs in Louisiana.

While LNG emits half as much carbon dioxide as coal, some scientists worry a boom could create methane emissions, which are exponentially more harmful than carbon dioxide. Cassidy said his office is looking into further decreasing carbon dioxide emissions from natural gas.

“We also have legislation that will promote the research into how to further decrease emissions from natural gas, seeing that natural gas production, in places like Haynesville, is a long-term solution to the issue of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

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