The feud between CNN host Jake Tapper and veteran Brian Mast, a Republican representative from Florida, continued Wednesday evening with Mast reminding the host how much he sacrificed for Tapper's right to say "whatever the hell he wants."
Tapper, who has made a habit of offering his opinion during newscasts, faced intense backlash for questioning Mast’s commitment to democracy after the Purple Heart recipient opposed President Trump's impeachment following last week's riot on Capitol Hill.
The spat began when Mast posed a question on the House floor during Wednesday afternoon's impeachment proceedings.
“I rise with a very simple question,” he began. “On Jan. 6, thousands of people broke the law by taking the siege of our Capitol here with us inside. Has any one of those persons who brought violence on our Capitol been brought here to say whether they did that because of our president?”
Mast's query was greeted by 30 seconds of silence, to which he responded, “It appears I will receive no answer."
Tapper then questioned Mast's commitment to democracy in the United States.
"Congressman Brian Mast ... who lost his legs, by the way, fighting for democracy abroad, although I don't know — about his commitment to it here in the United States,” he said.
Mast later reminded Tapper that the free speech rights he fought to protect overseas apply not only to Taper but to everyone in America collectively as well.
"I lost two legs for @jaketapper's right to say whatever the hell he wants, but that free speech also protects the Republicans he is so eager to condemn for asking Constitutional questions about the election," he wrote.
Tapper's on-air comments drew fire from conservatives on Twitter. Podcaster Dave Rubin stated that the remarks "might be the most vile thing ever said on cable news," noting his disappointment that the anchor who had been "CNN's last hope ... turned out to be the absolute worst."
Federalist co-founder Sean Davis went even further, arguing that Tapper's previous support for veterans was performative.
“Jake Tapper is a disgraceful coward who only pretends to care about veterans when he needs to use them as human PR shields whenever he gets dragged online,” he tweeted. “As this clip shows, he loathes veterans, especially those injured in war.”
Fox News contributor Joey Jones, who also lost his legs serving his nation, said he found the remarks offensive but indicated that he does not take Tapper's opinion on the matter seriously.
"So @jaketapper has written so many books-pandered enough on Twitter about other people’s heroic service he truly believes he has some assumed moral authority on it," he wrote. "What a disgusting thing to say about @BrianMastFL thankfully those of us who’ve done something can laugh it off."
CNN did not immediately respond to the Washington Examiner's request for comment.