U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) speaks as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Veteran U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel came under fire this week for saying that some members of the Republican Party “believe that slavery isn’t over,” Mediaite reports.

The longtime Democratic congressman made the remark during a rally Thursday for Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he appealed to Democrats to go to the polls for Tuesday’s midterm elections. But the accusation drew sharp criticism Friday from a bipartisan panel on CNN.

“I’m trying to figure out why is he even still in office,” said CNN commentator L.Z. Granderson, according to the news site. “You know, after he’s been busted on 11 counts of ethics violations, why is he still in office? Because the types of things that he’s doing right now, saying those kinds of things are absolutely ridiculous and have no place in politics; it has no place in the Democratic Party. And if you think what he says is true, then I’m just going to tell you the truth: You’re an idiot!” he continued. “Because slavery, and that time period, does not exist today!”

Rangel said Thursday that Democrats have to win in the midterm elections. “We’re going to be able to send a national message with Andrew Cuomo,” he told the crowd in video carried by CNN. “And the thing is, everything we believe in—everything we believe in—they hate. They don’t disagree, they hate. They think that if you didn’t come from Europe 30 years ago, we shouldn’t have immigration. Some of them believe that slavery isn’t over and that they won the Civil War.”

Read more at Mediaite.