Freshman Texas lawmaker Rep. John Ratcliffe on Thursday accused President Obama of only offering condolences to victims of tragedies when doing so allows him to advance his political agenda.
The issue has come up in the last few days as Republicans have held hearings on the death of Kate Steinle at the hands of an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times before, but returned again to the sanctuary city of San Francisco.
In a Thursday morning hearing, Ratcliffe asked Steinle's father Jim whether Obama had contacted him at all to offer condolences for his daughter's death. Steinle shook his head to indicate Obama had not called.
"I'm very sorry to hear that," Ratcliffe said. "When there have been other very public deaths in this country, like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and Freddie Gray, the president has expressed his condolences to the family. I would have expected him to do that here."
"He had a lot to say about those circumstances, I think, because they tied into polices that he cared about, like gun control and alleged police profiling," Ratcliffe added.
"Yet, when one of his policies with respect to immigration enforcement is at the root of a problem here that we're all discussing today, we don't hear anything from him, and you didn't hear anything from him," he concluded. "About the kindest thing I can say about that's incredibly disheartening and troubling to me."
Obama has been very vocal about some shooting deaths over the last few years. He delivered the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who was killed this year along with eight others in the recent South Carolina shooting.
Last April, Obama spoke about the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of police in Baltimore, and used those remarks to hint at the need to reassess how police officers police their communities.
Last year, he issued a statement on the death of Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer in Missouri, in which he sent his "deepest condolences" to Brown's family.
And Obama spoke several times about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, saying famously in 2012 that, "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."