Clay Higgins

Clay Higgins

Credentials

According to his profile at the U.S. House of Representatives, “After graduating from Covington High School, he attended LSU and then went on to serve in the United States Army/Louisiana National Guard as a Military Police Officer, and he attained the rank of E-6, Staff Sergeant.” It is unclear if he graduated Louisiana State University. [1]

Background

Clay Higgins is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District. “Higgins believes in smaller government, less bureaucracy, free markets, a strong national defense and securing America’s sovereign borders,” his House bio reads. [1]

Higgins enlisted in the Military Police Corps of the Louisiana National Guard where he served from 1979 until 1985, reaching the rank of staff sergeant. Before joining Congress in 2017, he was known for his Crimestoppers videos for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. He has been dubbed the “Cajun John Wayne” for his Crimestoppers videos, and “Uncle Clay.” [2]

Higgins is a former police officer with the Opelousas, Louisiana, police department. He resigned in 2007 while facing disciplinary action for “unnecessary force on a subject” and making “false statements during an internal investigation.” [3]

He later worked at the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s office but resigned from that position “after he appeared in a viral video calling a group of predominantly black gang members ‘thugs,’ ‘heathens,’ and ‘animals’,” The Washington Post reported. [3]

Higgins later said this departure from the Sherriff’s office provided him “a prayerful time” for him to consider options. According to Higgins, God led him to cross district lines and run against Scott Angelle: “Higgins said he had no shortage of political advice. But he relied on another source, he insists: 1 Corinthians 2:5, in which Paul advises men to place their faith ‘not in the wisdom of man’ but in ‘the power of God”,’ the Jackson Sun reported. [2]

Consistenly pushing for decreased energy industry regulation, offshore and onshore drilling, Higgins has indirectly compared those seeking alternative forms of energy as looking to a future  powered “by rainbow dust and unicorn milk.” Higgens has opposed Earth Science research funding at NASA which would examine climate change, and has said climate models are “fraudulently manipulated.” [4][5]

Higgins has told a gas industry conference that the “service of my office” should “represent the point of the spear that you wield.”

As outlined in on his congressional campaign website, Higgins is strongly anti-abortion, describes a “modern hysteria over guns” (“just 50 years ago, a child could purchase a gun from any seller, if daddy sent him with the money”) and suggests Louisiana’s eroding shoreline is “not because of oil companies.” In 2017, Higgins stood by comments he made about Islamic terrorists: “Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all,” he declared. “For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.” [6][7], [8]

Campaign Finance

According to OpenSecrets, Higgins’ largest political campaign contributor apart from Leadership PACs was the Oil and Gas Industry, with a grand total of over $50,000 listed for the 2017 – 2018 cycle. [29]

August 7, 2018

“Climate has been changing, you know, since Christ was a choirboy. It certainly predates the use of fossil fuel. So, I understand clearly, as do you ladies and gentlemen, that the prosperity of the world depends upon the continued and expansive use of fossil fuels,” Higgins declared in his speech at the Heartland Institute’s America First Energy Conference (AFEC) in New Orleans. 

[…]

“Elected officials like me, we have a responsibility to get the federal government the hell out of our way so that we can do business and continue to expand fossil fuel production, and that’s exactly what my office intends to do,” he added. [4]

August 31, 2017

Higgins spoke about his views on climate change during PBS News Hour, suggesting science should be questioned and that climate models had been “fraudulently manipulated”: [5]

“I certainly do not disagree with the fact that climate change happens. But I do think that it’s reasonable to question very carefully the science that has used models which have sometimes come under fire for having been sort of fraudulently manipulated in order to produce a result.” [5]

[…] 

“Climate change has existed well before human history. So, the question is not whether or not our climate changes across the planet, nor is it really a question that the human race does have some sort of impact upon climate change.” [5]

“Climate change has always happened, that’s my argument. […]” [5]

Other Issues

Higgins outlines his views on a number of issues on his congressional campaign website. Samples below: [6]

Gun Control

“The modern hysteria over guns is another example of our weakened society. Guns weren’t really regulated at all prior to the 60s in America. Throughout our history, prior to just 50 years ago, a child could purchase a gun from any seller, if daddy sent him with the money.” [6] 

Immigration

“Trump’s rhetoric is not rhetoric. It’s educated opinion from the perspective of a successful American businessman who loves his country and does not intend to quietly see it destroyed by career politicians, weak policy and political correctness.”

[…]

“Give the passive illegals a strict window, maybe 90 days, to get right or get out. But they must pay a fine. […] “On the other hand, the aggressive illegals entered our country illegally to begin with. They should be located by all available L.E. assets, identified, arrested, and deported. […] ICE must have a clear directive from Congress and the executive branch to enforce the law. I am also 100% opposed to the idea of Sanctuary Cities.” [6]

Foreign Policy

“President Obama and Madame Secretary Clinton have direct responsibility for the nightmare of the globalization of Radical Islamic terror. ISIS is the manifestation of middle-ages horror at its worst. ISIS must be hunted, identified, and killed.” [6]

Obamacare

“2,800 pages of unintelligible psychobabble. It’s the most egregious seizure of power and treasure from the American people in history. It’s the worst idea in an elaborate history of bad ideas. It’s a book of lies, based on lies, sold by liars. Obamacare must be repealed. Period.” [6]

Energy

“American oil and gas production is the cleanest in the world by far. I would very carefully review and adjust every one of the hundred or so Obama administration mandates and executive orders imposing his radical environmental agenda on our oil and gas industry.” [6]

Abortion

“I am completely Pro-Life. […] 

“Let me give you a number… 96 million. 96 million children have been murdered in the womb in our country since the 1970s. That’s the entire population of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

“I am told by German friends that there is a tangible guilt which exists to this day amongst the citizens of Germany… a guilt that is almost a part of their nation’s DNA… because of the Holocaust.

“I am certain that a nation mourns… generationally… when it allows such a thing. 96 million. […]” [6]

Coastal Erosion

“Louisiana’s coast is eroding… but not because of oil companies. […]” [6]

Comments Surrounding 2021 Capitol Insurrection

Clay Higgins was among dozens of the individuals and organizations profiled in DeSmog’s Disinformation Database who posted online or gave interviews about the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Some posted claims of election fraud, similar to those that drove the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6. Some circulated dubious information about the insurrection itself. DeSmog has preserved a selection of notable posts related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, including some that were later deleted or removed.

On Jan. 5, 2021, Rep. Higgins posted a message indicating that he would “pursue every legal and Constitutionally-available action” to respond to what he labeled “irregularities” in the 2020 election. The post, which asks “Can I count on you to stand with me and President Trump?” links to a poll about whether to investigate election certification with a “Captain Higgins for Congress” header. [30]

On December 31, 2020, Rep. Higgins’ social media account posted a Newsweek article headlined, “Rep. Clay Higgins Joins Sen. Josh Hawley in Objecting Certification of Election Results,” published December 31, 2020. [31]

Rep. Higgins posted the following message on Twitter on Dec. 20, 2020:

Key Quotes

August 7, 2018

Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s AFEC in New Orleans, Higgins declared: [4]

“Our nation was anointed at birth by a loving and forgiving Savior. The founding fathers were spoken to in their very heart and soul as they created the nation we love and serve. My father used to say the ocean floats all boats. And the ocean of the world, economically, is the American economic engine. And what drives that engine? Fossil fuel.

“Now, we were given stewardship over the world and the creatures therein, by our Creator long ago. This means to nurture and to care for. So, from our very essence, from the principles that drive us, we of course are encouraged to care for our planet. All of us do. And as I speak across the state and the country and Americans ask me, after an address, that what does this mean? Shall I become supportive of the conservative agenda? Shall I vote Republican? I say you’re damn right you should vote for Republican.”

Speaking on work his office has done to advance fossil-fuel friendly policy, Higgins said: [4]

“We’ve supported every conceivable measure to breathe life back into an industry that has been injured by a decade of obstructionist regulation and executive decree. We’ve created an environment, and we continue to do so, where energy production, exploration, extraction, utilization, is encouraged.” 

[…]

“This thing is not over. We’re dealing with a massive bureaucracy, and the deep state is real.” 

Higgins also commented on more mainstream climate change conferences, and denounced renewable energy sources: [4]

“We must recognize, however, that somewhere in America or perhaps another nation-state there’s a conference similar to this one, but quite different. They’re discussing the future of the world’s energy will be provided by rainbow dust and unicorn milk. And perhaps one day this shall be true but in the really real world we need natural gas. We need LNG. We need crude. We need to drill offshore. We need to drill onshore. It needs to be driven by the American economic engine which is driven by American fossil fuel production. This is very clear. I’ll say this as a compassionate, driven American citizen and child of God. ” (Emphasis added).

June 4, 2017

“The free world… all of Christendom… is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all,” Higgins declared on June 4, 2017. [8]

Higgins stood by his comments, clarifying for The Washington Post, Higgins said: [7]

They’re religious zealots,” Higgins said, referring to terrorists. “They’re twisted, mad religious fanatics. They’re not going to stop because we’re holding up signs or being nice to them. We have to identify them and kill them.”

He added: “That’s what happens in war.”

January 4, 2018

Higgins released a statement applauding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s announcement of the 5-year Draft Proposed Program (DPP) for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas leasing: [9]

“We are working together with President Trump and his administration to deliver an energy policy that places American families and American industry first. Expanding offshore drilling access in the Gulf of Mexico means more jobs and economic growth for South Louisiana. I am committed to unleashing American energy potential and will continue to fight for Louisiana oil and gas jobs”

Key Deeds

October 17, 2018

Higgins announced he was co-sponsoring House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act, which “would fully fund President Trump’s border wall, crack down on sanctuary cities, and boost penalties for deported criminals who try to re-enter the U.S,” a press release read. [10]

Higgins issued the following statement:

My office continues to work toward reforms that assist law enforcement and restore the sovereignty of America’s borders. Border security is a critical national security priority. I am proud to cosponsor Leader McCarthy’s bill, which builds the wall and arms frontline defenders with the necessary resources to enforce law and order. I will continue to stand for strong border security and with the men and women who enforce our immigration laws.” [10]

September 6, 2018

Higgins, who voted in favor of H.R. 4606, the Ensuring Small Scale LNG Certainty and Access Act, delivered a speech on the House floor in support of the legislation. The legislation would work to expedite shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG). [11]

“The success we are currently experiencing is just the beginning,” Higgins said. “During this Congress, we have worked with the Trump administration to roll back many of the previous administration’s regulations that injured American industry. In fact, the previous executive branch in many ways actually weaponized federal agencies against the oil and gas industry.” [11]

August 7, 2018

Higgins spoke at the Heartland Institute‘s “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018) in New Orleans, Louisiana. [12]

The purpose of this event is to promote and expand energy freedom in the United States, as outlined in President Donald Trump’s bold America First Energy Plan, a proposal first released during the 2016 presidential campaign. The president’s plan marks a decisive change in direction from the Obama administration’s ‘war on fossil fuels’ and focus on the theory of catastrophic man-caused climate change,” the conference description reads[13]

He spoke on a panel titled “Fueling Freedom and Prosperity.” [14]

April 17, 2018

Higgins voted against an amendment to H.R. 5503, the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) Authorization Act of 2018 that would have provided NASA an additional $471 million in non-space funding. [15]

NASA funding should be solely dedicated to American space dominance and exploration. Other federal agencies like NOAA and USGS are better suited for earth science studies. I strongly oppose increases in NASA funding for earth science related matters,” Higgins said in a statement. [15]

At a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (where Higgins was named Vice Chairman in January 2018), Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson’s (D-TX) noted in his statement that the proposed cuts to Earth Science would threaten climate science and other key programs at NASA: [16], [17]

“First, this bill slashes funding for Earth Science by half a billion dollars in FY 19—a quarter of the total Earth Science budget. These cuts are simply another manifestation of the Majority’s continued war on climate science,” Johnson said in his statement.

“However, these reckless cuts are so deep that they will likely threaten more than just climate science at NASA. The Earth Science budget supports numerous programs that help Americans, from aiding farmers to saving American lives in natural disaster response.”

March 22, 2018

Higgins spoke at the Expanding Global Gas Infrastructure event in Washington, DC organized by LNG Allies. “Cooperators” listed for the event included the American Petroleum Institute, Global Energy Institute (US Chamber), and Our Energy Moment. [18]

DeSmog reported Higgins introduced his speech with the following message: [19]

Welcome to the war for the future of our planet,” Higgins said.

My role as your representative is to be not just your ally,” Higgins added, “but your warrior. Please allow the service of my office to represent the point of the spear that you wield. We’ll knock down every bureaucratic wall. We’ll kick down every federal barrier. We’ll work with you. We’ll work for you.”

Some of you know, some of you perhaps do not, that the Revolutionary soldiers that gave birth to this nation, represented only three percent of the populace, the colonists,” he said. “Some of us refer to ourselves as ‘Three Percenters.’”

You, ladies and gentlemen, are the Three Percenters of the modern era,” he continued, “where wars are fought with monies and strategies and energy.”

The Three Percenter movement, according to the according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, was founded in 2008. The group is loosely organized, making it difficult to pin down any one set of beliefs. [20]

While some Three Percenter groups have disavowed racist ideology, other parts of the network have been labeled as hate groups. [21], [22]

Following the deaths inn Charlottesville in 2017, some parts of the Three Percenter network distanced themselves from white supremacists. The Three Percenters National Council issued a “stand down” order, writing that while their group would “support and defend everyone’s right to free speech, we will not align ourselves with any type of racist group.” [23]

July 2017

Higgins posted a political video at Auschwitz concentration camp that received criticism. He later apologized for what he described as the “unintended pain” caused by the video. During the five-minute video, Higgins described what took place in the gas chamber and added “this is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible.” [24]

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum criticized the video on social media. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, “said the video contained political rhetoric that was inappropriate, although he did not think Higgins had bad intentions,” The Guardian reported, via Associated Press[24]

My intent was to offer a reverent homage to those who were murdered in Auschwitz and to remind the world that evil exists, that free nations must remember, and stand strong,” Higgins said in a statement. “However, my message has caused pain to some whom I love and respect. For that, my own heart feels sorrow. Out of respect to any who may feel that my video posting was wrong or caused pain, I have retracted my video.” [24]

March 5, 2017

Rep. Higgins dismissed science behind the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) during testimony from the industry-funded Heritage Foundation‘s Kevin D. Dayaratna (a Heartland ICCC speaker) as well as prominent climate change denier Patrick Michaels. [25]

The measurement standards [for climate change] use a 300 year window [projection]…We’re very fortunate that we’re not bound by the science of 300 years ago, where we would be discussing geocentricity, alchemy, spontaneous generation of life, and the hollow earth.” 

[…]

“To me, the real overwhelming consensus is that the social cost of carbon is a cost measured not by 300-year-windows of manipulated science, but the contemporary and very real cost of American jobs and American treasure,” Higgins said.

Full video of the interchange below. [25]

January 2017

Higgins spoke out in favor of President Trump’s travel ban that halted immigration from seven countries. View video of Higgins’ speech on the House Floor, via C-SPAN, below. [26]

Trump’s immigration order resulted in global backlash, with the countries targeted criticizing the measures as discriminatory, Reuters among others reported. [27]

Affiliations

Committees and Caucuses [28]

Homeland Security

  • Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection
  • Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency
  • Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security 

Veterans’ Affairs

  • Subcommittee on Health

Science, Space, & Technology

Social Media

Publications

Clay Higgins has written a range of Op Eds, as outlined at his website at the US House of Representatives.

Resources

  1. About,” US Representative Clay Higgins, September 6, 2018. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Zi3mV
  2. Ken Stickney. “Higgins: God led him to challenge Angelle,” Jackson Sun, September 16, 2016.
  3. Walter Pierce. “Clay Higgins resigned from OPD in 2007 on cusp of major disciplinary measures,” The Independent, September 29, 2016. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/cBOux
  4. Clay Higgins on Panel 2A: Fueling Freedom and Prosperity,” YouTube video uploaded by user The Heartland Institute, August 10, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  5. WATCH: Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins on his skepticism about human-caused climate change,” PBS News Hour, August 31, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  6. Issues,” Captain Higgins for Congress. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/qeXKF
  7. “‘This is what happens in war’: GOP congressman defends call for killing radical Muslims,” The Washington Post, June 7, 2017. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/zyDlm
  8. The free world… all of Christendom…” Facebook post by user “Captain Clay Higgins,” June 4, 2017. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.
  9. (Press Release). “Congressman Higgins Applauds Expansion of Offshore Drilling,” US Representative Clay Higgins, January 4, 2018. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/nteI8
  10. (Press Release). “Congressman Higgins Cosponsors Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act,” US Representative Clay Higgins, September 6, 2018. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/q2Ma3
  11. (Press Release). “Congressman Higgins Votes to Expand LNG Exports,” US Representative Clay Higgins, September 6, 2018. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/a8Au6
  12. Speakers,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/mwtga
  13. About,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived July 23, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.fo/E4Gnt
  14. HON. CLAY HIGGINS,” America First Energy Conference 2018. Archived August 1, 2018. Archive URL: https://archive.fo/fedsZ
  15. (Press Release). “Higgins Votes Against Republican-Supported Science Amendment,” US Representative Clay Higgins, September 6, 2018. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/ois4L
  16. (Press Release). “Ranking Member Johnson Statement on the ‘National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2018‘,” SpaceRef, April 17, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/AjFoU
  17. (Press Release). “Higgins Named Vice Chairman of House Science Subcommittee on Oversight,” US Representative Clay Higgins, January 23, 2018. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Ludsb
  18. Expanding Global Gas Infrastructure,” Eventbrite. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/Sop1T
  19. Sharon Kelly. “Congressman Asks Gas Industry to Join Him as ‘3 Percenters,’ Fails to Mention Movement’s Ties to White Supremacists,” DeSmog, October 18, 2018.
  20. MICHAEL BRIAN VANDERBOEGH,” Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.fo/g7dGk
  21. Jessie Opoien. “Wisconsin ‘Three Percenters’ group defends itself, Republican lawmaker defends visit,” The Cap Times, August 16, 2017. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/SQ2O7
  22. Hate groups in America,” CBS News. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/eVbkp
  23. The Three Percenters Official Statement Regarding the Violent Protests in Charlottesville,” The Three Percenters, August 12, 2017.
  24. Associated Press. “Congressman apologizes for video in gas chamber at Nazi concentration camp,” The Guardian, July 5, 2017. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/CULR2
  25. REP. HIGGINS CHALLENGES PRESUMPTIONS OF CLIMATE SCIENTISTS,” Facebook video uploaded by user “Congressman Clay HIggins,” March 5, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  26. Rep. Higgins on Trump Executive Order,” C-SPAN, March 17, 2017.
  27. Maher Chmaytelli and Lin Noueihed. “Global backlash grows against Trump’s immigration order,” Reuters, January 29, 2017. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/IT9CC
  28. Committees and Caucuses,” US Representative Clay Higgins. Archived October 19, 2018. Archive.fo URLhttps://archive.fo/jYiAN
  29. Rep. Clay Higgins – Louisiana District 03,” OpenSecrets. Accessed October 19, 2018.
  30. Endorse Captain Higgins,” Page on WinRed. Archived February 13, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/K93xo
  31. Natalie Colarossi. “Rep. Clay Higgins Joins Sen. Josh Hawley in Objecting Certification of Election Results,” Newsweek, December 31, 2020. Archived February 12, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/0Wsvq

Other Resources

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