Robert Wexler

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Robert Wexler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 19th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2010
Preceded byHarry Johnston
Succeeded byTed Deutch
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 28th district
In office
November 20, 1990 – November 19, 1996
Preceded byDon C. Childers
Succeeded byRon Klein
Personal details
Robert Ira Wexler

(1961-01-02) January 2, 1961 (age 63)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseLaurie Cohen
EducationEmory University
University of Florida (BA)
George Washington University (JD)

Robert Ira Wexler (born January 2, 1961) is an American politician and lawyer from Florida. He is the president of the Washington-based S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace.[1] Wexler was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Florida's 19th congressional district,[2] from 1997 until his resignation on January 3, 2010.[3]

Early life[edit]

Wexler was born in Queens, New York to Ben and Sandra Wexler. He and his family moved to South Florida when he was ten.[1] Wexler graduated from Hollywood Hills High School in Hollywood, Florida and later attended Emory University for a year. He transferred to the University of Florida, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1982. Wexler received his J.D. degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1985 and was a lawyer in private practice with Shutts & Bowen before serving in the House.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Wexler served in the Florida Senate from 1990 to 1996 before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1996 election, filling the open seat vacated by fellow Democrat Harry Johnston. He has been reelected six times, never facing serious opposition in one of the most Democratic districts in Florida. On January 3, 2010, he resigned to become executive director of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, a Washington-based think tank.[4]

Matzoh pricing[edit]

In April 1997, Wexler asked that an investigation be started to determine why the price of matzoh, the unleavened bread that is a staple at Jewish tables during Passover, varied so much throughout the country.[5] "It's the biggest thing since the Jewish people escaped from Pharaoh and Egypt", Wexler said while also advising his constituents to "Get your family and friends to buy five-pound boxes in the Bronx and FedEx it down here."[6]

Robert and Laurie Wexler with President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office
Rep. Robert Wexler

Wexler announces support for impeachment hearings[edit]

In an e-mail to supporters on November 7, 2007, Representative Robert Wexler, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, stated about H.Res. 333:

I will urge the Judiciary Committee to schedule impeachment hearings immediately and not let this issue languish as it has over the last six months. Only through hearings can we bring begin to correct the abuses of Dick Cheney and the Bush Administration; and, if it is determined in these hearings that Vice President Cheney has committed High Crimes and Misdemeanors, he should be impeached and removed from office.[2]

In mid December 2007, Congressman Wexler launched a website ( to promote his effort for impeachment hearings. The site included a YouTube video where he explained his position and a petition for like-minded people to sign. Wexler set a goal of getting 50,000 Americans to join his cause. In just two weeks, over 200,000 people signed the petition and over 70,000 people watched his YouTube video.[citation needed]

Call for McClellan testimony[edit]

After the release of the book What Happened by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan in June 2008, Wexler went on record as saying he would like McClellan to testify under oath about what Wexler depicted as crimes of the Bush Administration. The Bush Administration had claimed that such proceedings would be a violation of executive privilege. At the time, Wexler was a member of the House Judiciary Committee.[7] Scott McClellan offered his testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on June 20, 2008.[8]

Articles of impeachment[edit]

On June 10, 2008, Wexler co-sponsored and signed Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment for George W. Bush. He referred to the Congressional Oath of Office saying it was the duty of Congress to act, and stated: "President Bush deliberately created a massive propaganda campaign to sell the war in Iraq to the American people and the charges detailed in this impeachment resolution indicate an unprecedented abuse of executive power." However, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi repeatedly said she would not support a resolution calling for Bush's impeachment, saying such a move was unlikely to succeed and would be divisive.[9]

The House voted 251 to 166 to refer the impeachment resolution to the Judiciary Committee on July 25, 2008, where no further action was taken on it.[citation needed]

Residency dispute[edit]

In July 2008, Fox news host Bill O'Reilly revealed that Wexler claimed his mother-in-law's home in Delray Beach as his official residence (though he is listed on the House roll as "D-Boca Raton"), but lived in a Maryland suburb for most of the year. Edward J. Lynch, a Republican running for Wexler's congressional seat, researched Wexler's living arrangements and took his argument to the Fox News program. "The house he lists on his voter registration is his in-laws' house, in a gated 55-and-older community ... Legally, he can't move back with children under 18."[citation needed]

After Wexler was confronted about the allegation, he stated that his mother-in-law did own the house in Delray Beach. But he also said he stayed there when in Florida which, according to his office is, on average, about twice a month. As a Florida resident, Wexler did not pay personal income tax, and his vehicles were also registered in that state, despite his near-permanent residency in the Washington metropolitan area.[10]

Committee assignments and caucus memberships[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

The following is a partial list of Wexler's congressional caucus memberships:[citation needed]

  • Congressional Caucus on Global Road Safety (co-founder and co-chairman)
  • Caucus on U.S.-Turkish Relations (co-founder)
  • Taiwan Caucus (co-founder)
  • Caucus on Intellectual Property Promotion and Piracy Prevention (co-founder/co-chairman)
  • Indonesia Caucus (co-founder/co-chairman)
  • Congressional Study Group on Turkey (co-chair)
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus
  • India Caucus
  • Serbia Caucus

Notable media appearances[edit]

Colbert Report interview[edit]

Congressman Wexler's multiple appearances on The Colbert Report have elevated him to status of being a bona fide "friend of the show."[citation needed] On the July 20, 2006, episode, during an interview for the segment Better Know a District, Wexler went along with Stephen Colbert's idea of making jokes about the use of cocaine. This arose from a discussion about Wexler's running re-election unopposed and therefore, impliedly, not having to choose his words as carefully as he otherwise would. Led by Stephen Colbert, he first repeated what Colbert had said, then completed with the following statements:

I enjoy cocaine because ... it's a fun thing to do. I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons: ... oh, because it's a fun thing to do. Much like cocaine. If you combine the two together, it's probably even more fun.[11]

Good Morning America, The Today Show (the ABC and NBC morning shows), and Fox News aired edited versions of the segment. In response, on the July 25, 2006, episode of his show,[12] Colbert castigated those shows for broadcasting edited versions of the interview in what he said was a misleading and negative light. He told his viewers to "vote Wexler, the man's got a sense of humor, unlike, evidently, journalists."[citation needed]

On November 7, 2006, Wexler returned to The Colbert Report during the show's "Midterm Midtacular" special and joked about what he said in the earlier interview. When Colbert asked him if he would "reach across the aisle" if the Democrats took back the House,[13] he was cautious and joked that he learned from the last interview he had to watch what he said.[citation needed]

The Hill[edit]

In August and September 2006, Wexler and his office staff were featured on The Hill, a six-part documentary on the Sundance Channel.[14]

Daily Show - Defunding of UNESCO[edit]

On the March 15, 2012 episode of The Daily Show, John Oliver interviewed Wexler, who defended the United States' cutting its funding to UNESCO, based upon a statute that prohibits funding of organizations which recognize Palestinian statehood. These cuts will result in the reduction or elimination of certain humanitarian programs administered by UNESCO. Wexler indicated that the cut in funding is necessary to "send a message" to organizations that support Palestinian statehood.[15][16]


Wexler and his wife Laurie (née Cohen) have three children.[citation needed]

Election results[edit]

Wexler ran unopposed in the 1998, 2004, and the 2006 elections.

Florida's 19th Congressional District Election, 1998
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert Wexler* 100.00
Florida's 19th Congressional District Election, 2000
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert Wexler* 171,080 72.12
Republican Morris Kent Thompson 67,789 23.88
Total votes 238,869 100.00
Democratic hold
Florida's 19th Congressional District Election, 2002
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert Wexler* 156,747 72.16
Republican Jack Merkle 60,477 27.84
Total votes 217,224 100.00
Democratic hold
Florida's 19th Congressional District Election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert Wexler* 100.00
Total votes 100.00
Democratic hold
Florida's 19th Congressional District Election, 2006
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert Wexler* 100.00
Total votes 100.00
Democratic hold
Florida's 19th Congressional District Election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Robert Wexler* 202,465 66.16
Republican Edward Lynch 83,357 27.24
Independent Benjamin Graber 20,214 6.61
Total votes 306,036 100.00
Democratic hold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Robert Wexler". S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace. Archived from the original on 2010-08-17.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Representative Robert Wexler, Representing the 19th District of Florida "Congressman Robert Wexler, 19th District of Florida". Archived from the original on August 30, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-31.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Current Vacancies". Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  4. ^ "U.S. Political News, Opinion and Analysis". 2009-10-14. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  5. ^ ""To Be Governed..." (July/August 1997)". Archived from the original on 2000-08-18. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  6. ^ Barone, Michael; Ujifusa, Grant (1999). The Almanac of American Politics 2000. National Journal Group Inc. p. 438.
  7. ^ "Congressman wants McClellan to testify under oath". CNN. May 30, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  8. ^ "McClellan: Cheney should testify about CIA leak". CNN. June 20, 2008. Retrieved July 24, 2014.
  9. ^ "Kucinich introduces Bush impeachment resolution". CNN. June 11, 2008. Archived from the original on April 5, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  10. ^ Wexler residential ruckus rekindled[permanent dead link],; accessed November 15, 2016.
  11. ^ "The Colbert Report - Series | Comedy Central Official Site |". September 30, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  12. ^ "The Colbert Report". Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  13. ^ "The Colbert Report - Series | Comedy Central Official Site |". September 30, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  14. ^ Farhi, Paul. "'The Hill,' Where Staffers Have the Floor", The Washington Post, August 23, 2006; retrieved December 12, 2009
  15. ^ "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah". 2016-09-30. Retrieved 2016-11-15.
  16. ^ "Daily Show Segment Blasts U.S. For Cutting Off UNESCO Funding | UNESCO history - UNESCO Multimedia Archives". 2016-11-25. Retrieved 2016-12-10.

External links[edit]

Florida Senate
Preceded by Member of the Florida Senate
from the 28th district

Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 19th congressional district

Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former US Representative Order of precedence of the United States
as Former US Representative
Succeeded byas Former US Representative