Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri, said at an event over the weekend that the Tea Party movement would have taken the country back to a day when there was segregation and women were considered second-class citizens.
"During the health care debate, we had some mess going on in Washington," Cleaver told a gathering of the Palm Beach County Democrats where he was the keynote speaker at an event celebrating Black History Month.
Cleaver told a story of the health care debate in 2009, in which people were screaming "we want our country back."
"We had Tea Party people, all over, everywhere, and they were screaming at us. And I'll never forget this guy, on the steps of the Capitol says to me, 'we want our country back.' And I've got people on both sides screaming, 'we want our country back.'"
Cleaver said he told the man, "you can't have it back," saying he wouldn't let the Tea Party take the country back to segregation and when women did not have equal rights.
"So I turn and I say, 'well you can't have it. You can't have it. You can't have it. And the reason is we're not going back. You can't have it back. We're not going back to a day when we were segregated. We're not going back to a day when women were considered secondary citizens. We're not going back. No, you can't have it back."