L. Brooks Patterson said it was a "stupid" move and — in a larger swipe at the GOP — said he was embarrassed Republicans are trying to end unlimited medical benefits for people catastrophically injured in car crashes and institute a $1 million cap. Patterson was seriously injured in a crash last year and his driver became a quadriplegic.
Later asked what advice he would give Bolger, he said on public television's "Off the Record" show:
"Adolf Bolger, you mean? He's really become very arrogant and he's throwing his weight around up there. I think he's embarrassing himself. If he thinks he's going to be a candidate for governor, he better learn how to control his temper. He better learn how to work with the consensus within his own party. I think sometimes Adolf steps a little bit to the fringe, and he's embarrassing himself."
Patterson also pulled out a comb and held it over his lip to look like the Nazi leader's mustache.
Numerous House Republicans said the 74-year-old Patterson went too far and called for an apology. A spokesman said he would not "respond to a response."
Tension has been high at the GOP-controlled Capitol over the insurance legislation, which is backed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder — who promises a $125 per vehicle drop in premiums — but opposed by Democrats and some House Republicans.
Earlier in the week, Bolger removed eight Democrats from committees for missing unrelated hearings. He later reinstated them.
Bolger acted after his Democratic counterpart, House Minority Leader Tim Greimel of Auburn Hills, called for the replacement of five Republicans who left a hearing last week on auto insurance legislation when accident victims in wheelchairs had showed up to testify. Greimel also recently said Republicans leaders negotiating on road-funding legislation were acting like "terrorists."
"Reasonable people can disagree on policy, but it's not reasonable to resort to name calling," Bolger, of Marshall, said in a statement. "My biggest disappointment has been that I like Brooks Patterson, so I am sad to see him act like this about anyone. Beyond that, I think everyone else has said everything that can be said."
During his appearance on the show, Patterson accused Bolger and House Insurance Chairman Pete Lund, a Republican from Macomb County's Shelby Township, of retaliating against him by not letting his office testify Thursday at a hearing during which Republicans approved their auto insurance bill.
"That's not the kind of tolerance I thought my party represented," he said.
Snyder issued a statement calling on every public official in the state to be more civil.
"Public officials won't agree on every issue, but there should be universal agreement that everyone should be treated with respect and with civility," he said. "There have been several instances in Michigan recently where the rules of respect and civility have been ignored. The old saying applies here: We can disagree without being disagreeable."