Nate Hochman of National Review Online highlights a welcome rhetorical reversal from a high-profile member of Congress.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas), one of the most outspoken and vociferous critics of the anti-Kevin McCarthy holdouts in the House Republican caucus, apologized for describing his colleagues as “terrorists” on CNN’s State of the Union today. The Hill reports:

“To the extent that I have colleagues that were offended by it, I sincerely apologize to them. I don’t want them to think I actually believe they’re terrorists. It’s clearly a turn of phrase that you use in what is an intransigent negotiation,” Crenshaw said. 

Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) ultimately secured the Speakership after 15 rounds of voting, during which around 20 Republican holdouts forced the race into a stalemate, preventing McCarthy from hitting the majority threshold he needed.

Crenshaw last week said the hard-liners “are enemies now” and argued that “we cannot let the terrorists win.”

The apology was the right move, and Crenshaw should be credited for it. Describing members of one’s own caucus as “enemies,” let alone “terrorists,” is hardly helpful in the opening days of a new Republican majority. Crenshaw did nestle another snide barb into his apology — saying that he was “a little taken aback” by the “sensitivity” of his colleagues, given that he’s been “called awful, vile things by the very same wing of the party.”

That’s silly: Insofar as Crenshaw has been the subject of similar rhetorical excess, he presumably thinks it’s a bad thing, and bad things do not, as a general rule, justify more bad things.

Whatever one thinks of the anti-McCarthy campaign, it wasn’t “pointless,” as Crenshaw srgued at another juncture during the show — the holdouts extracted major concessions from their new House speaker. Criticisms can be made along the lines that those concessions were either bad on the merits or not worth the spectacle, but not that the spectacle had no end unto itself.