STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — The United States’ richest congressman says America’s poor are “the envy of the world.”

Southern California Republican Darrell Issa made the statement to CNN during a sit-down interview on income equality Friday.

“America is the richest country on earth because we’ve been able to put capital together and we’ve been able to make our poor somewhat the envy of the world,” he stated, continuing: “If you go to India or you go to any number of third world countries you have two problems. You have greater inequality of income and wealth. You also have less opportunity for people to rise from the have-not to the have. The quality of public education, the availability and access. So I think America is a good example. Can we do better? I think we can,” he said.

The comments broadcast created a firestorm online and became a trending topic on Facebook, with some commenters insisting what he should have said was that America’s poor are better off than the poor in third world countries, although that shouldn’t be a standard for comparison.

Issa is the wealthiest lawmaker on Capitol Hill with a net worth of nearly $450 million, KCAL9’s Joy Benedict reports.

He represents the 49th District, which covers the southern portion of Orange County.

He has been a member of Congress since 2001 and is Chairman of the House Committee On Oversight and Government Reform.

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