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Townhall Exclusive: Steve Scalise Rips Ilhan Omar in Interview on Gulf of Mexico Oil Rig

Yesterday I had the extraordinary opportunity to join a Congressional delegation, led by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, to an oil rig roughly 60 miles off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico.  We took a large helicopter from New Orleans, flew an hour and a half south, and landed on the Hess Corporation's "Stampede" facility.  After an extensive safety briefing and a thorough tour, I interviewed Scalise in the production platform's control room about why he spearheads these annual journeys for members of Congress from both parties.  We also discussed the oil industry's challenges and reforms following the infamous BP 'Deepwater Horizon' catastrophe.  Finally, we turned to politics, and I asked Scalise to react to the latest controversy surrounding Rep. Ilhan Omar -- including the Left's attempts to disqualify harsh criticisms as "incitement" against her.  Given that he was nearly assassinated in a grotesque, politically-motivated act of violence two years ago (and has continued to receive violent threats), his perspective on the firestorm is particularly noteworthy:

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"To be able to openly criticize somebody, especially an elected official, that's what the First Amendment to the Constitution is all about...[Omar] ought to apologize, at a minimum. She won't apologize. I've said for months now, Nancy Pelosi should not have her on the Foreign Affairs committee...Anybody is free to say whatever they want. They're also going to be held accountable at the ballot box. But they surely should be open to criticism -- not threats by any means -- but absolutely criticism."

I tweeted a video from the rig's helipad, which gives a sense of how immense and complex the operation is:  


This facility is now producing more than 40,000 barrels of oil a day, processing natural resources tapped and pumped from reservoirs 30,000 feet below sea level.  Consider the enormity of the engineering and logistical feats required to accomplish that -- and if you're interested, click through for more information about how this marvel was constructed and operates.  Some additional details and photos:

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Overall, it was a memorable learning experience about a truly impressive operation, again reminding me of the enormous resources energy companies expend on a daily basis. 

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