Westmoreland is on the House Select Committee responsible for investigating the events surrounding the 2012 terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The attack killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The congressman spoke for about 45 minutes to a crowd of about 75, before fielding questions.
“I’m not going to stand here and confirm or deny anything,” Westmoreland told the crowd. “Our job is to figure out the truth.”
Westmoreland spent much of his speech criticizing Democrats.
“I think our enemy stands on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,” Westmoreland said to loud applause.
Later on, he called Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “ruthless and senile,” to which the audience erupted with laughter.
Westmoreland touched on foreign policy, saying it “will take us decades to get back to our status” in the world.
He also addressed the upcoming election in which Democratic State Sen. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is challenging Gov. Nathan Deal for his seat. Westmoreland also mentioned the race to replace U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who is retiring. Democrat Michelle Nunn is running against Republican David Perdue in that race.
“We cannot afford to lose this Georgia seat,” Westmoreland said, adding it would be “embarrassing” to lose.
After the speech, Westmoreland said the Benghazi investigation is not about partisan politics.
“This is not a partisan witch hunt,” he said. “This is to find out the truth and just let us take the facts and let the facts lead us to the truth. So, that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Westmoreland said despite working with Democratic co-sponsors on bills, the atmosphere in Washington is not made for bipartisanship.
“The electorate has just gotten so partisan that it’s hard for these guys to be bipartisan,” he said.
Melissa Pike, chairwoman of the Cobb Democratic Party, weighed in on Westmoreland’s comments Saturday evening, saying Georgia needs relief from what she called “the drama.”
“There are those of us who are tired of this madness,” Pike said. “The day of (Republicans) stomping their feet like little kids, it has to end. There’s too much work that needs to be done.”
On the issue of taking action against ISIS, Westmoreland said he thinks sending troops is necessary to get answers from terrorists.
“I don’t want to put boots on the ground, but if we want to do what we’re doing right now, we’ll never defeat them,” Westmoreland said. “If you have troops on the ground, you can actually capture these guys and be able to get a little more (intelligence) out of them.”
Scott Johnson of the Georgia Board of Education said he took away the importance of Republican unity from the speech and he is confident of the work Westmoreland is doing on the committee.
“They’re going to be able to get the answers, I believe, on Benghazi,” Johnson said. “Congressman Westmoreland and his colleagues will get to the bottom of the Benghazi debacle.”