Claim: Fifteen Democrats walked out on a House committee hearing when the parents of two Benghazi victims testified.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, September 2013]
Earlier today, an important hearing regarding the attack on Benghazi was being held by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The parents of the Benghazi heroes who died fighting to protect the US consulate were about to speak.
Then, in a turn of events that’s disgusting even by DC standards, most of the Democrats stood up and walked out. Apparently, they were either protesting or trying to show disrespect — either way, if there was any honor in their districts at all, this would end their careers.
Origins: On 18 September 2013, the leaders of the Administrative Review Board (ARB) that investigated the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, and other appeared at a
hearing before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee. Pat Smith and Charles Woods, who are both parents of sons killed in the Benghazi attacks and who have both been critical of the government's response to those attacks, were among those who testified at that hearing.
Shortly afterwards, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California twice posted a picture of the sparsely populated hearing room to Twitter, the first time describing it as showing that "Democrats [had] execused themselves from testimony of Benghazi heroes' family members," the second time modifying it to note that "only 2 [Democrats] decided to stay & hear testimony from family members":
This bit of Twittering was picked up by web sites that used it to proclaim that "in a turn of events that's disgusting even by DC standards, most of the Democrats stood up and walked out" as the "parents of the Benghazi heroes who died fighting to protect the US consulate were about to speak" and attempted to shame the fifteen Democrats who left by listing their names.
A video clip of the event shows the state of the hearing room as Pat Smith and Charles Woods (who testified at the very end of the hearing) were speaking to South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy:
The House Oversight Committee comprises 24 Republicans and 17 Democrats, with Democrats sitting on the left and Republicans on the right (from the perspective shown in the image below). A screen grab from the video clip linked above documents how many House members remained in the room during the parents' testimony and appears to show two Democrats and six Republicans:
This would indicate that fifteen Democrats and eighteen Republicans either left the room before Pat Smith and Charles Woods finished testifying or didn't bother attending the hearing in the first place, but it's unclear from the video record exactly how many members of each party were present and left early, and how many were never there at all.