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The Washington Independent

Massa Claimed He Was ‘Forced Out’ of Congress in 2003

March 08, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Today, Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) is arguing that Democrats are conspiring to force him out of Congress.

This isn’t the first time he’s used that line.

Back when Massa, a former Navy officer, identified as a Republican, he served as an aide to the GOP majority on the House Armed Services Committee. But, he claims now, things turned sour over his stance on the war in Iraq. From Massa’s House website:

When the planning for the Iraq War began, Congressman Massa opposed the flawed strategy being set forth by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his allies in Congress. For standing up against the failed pre-war planning, Mr. Massa was forced out in 2003.

That may be the way Massa casts the incident now, but it appears his story has changed over time.

In a 2003 Washington Monthly article, Massa seemed to validate a rumor that the GOP and Massa parted ways over Massa’s personal friendship and support for Gen. Wesley Clark, not because of Massa’s war stance. (Massa previously served as an aide to Clark.) He also said he held no “ill will” toward his Republican colleagues over his departure:

Sources tell “Who’s Who,” [committee chairman Duncan] Hunter and [staff director Robert] Rangel repeatedly told Massa that, given his friendship with Clark, he could no longer work at the committee, but when reporters from a few big-name newspapers heard the story and began calling around, Hunter claimed that Massa had never actually been fired. Fed-up, Massa resigned. No one from Hunter’s office was available for comment. Contacted by WW, Massa commented, “I don’t hold ill will for anybody. This is about issues, and Clark the man, and I’m going to do everything I can to get him elected.”

If he’s to be believed now, first the GOP forced him out. Now it’s the Democratic Party. I guess he can always go independent…

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