The White House on Tuesday accused Republicans of “indifference” in the face of repeated school shootings after lawmakers in Tennessee moved to expel three House Democrats after they led anti-gun protests.
The exchanges illustrate the polarized response after the killing of three children and three adults at Covenant School in Nashville last week.
Protesters swarmed the state capitol last week calling for gun reform, and included three Democratic lawmakers. On Monday, Republicans began expelling the three, accusing them of “disorderly conduct.”
White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre condemned the move.
“By doing what they’re doing to these three Democratic legislators, they’re neglecting to face yet another tragic school shooting while our kids continue to pay the price,” she said.
White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre accused Republicans on Tuesday of “indifference” in the face of repeated school shootings after lawmakers in Tennessee moved to expel three House Democrats after they led anti-gun protests.
On Monday, Representatives Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson used a musical instrument to lead supporters in the public gallery in cheers for gun reform as they face impeachment.
More than 1,000 people flocked to the statehouse in Tennessee during a protest organized by moms on Thursday.
On Monday evening, the Republicans submitted a motion to expel Representatives Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson.
This led to another confrontation as the three used a trumpet to lead supporters in the public gallery in calls for gun reform.
At the White House, Jean-Pierre said Republicans missed the point.
“What we saw in Nashville, that horrible accident of three kids and three adults who were basically killed at school was traumatic and infuriating,” she said.
Our hearts go out to their families. We understand that it will take time to move on from this tragic loss.
As you have seen, and I am sure to report, 7,000 students marched peacefully to the Capitol to confront their deputies for failing to keep themselves safe at school.
And what did Republican lawmakers do? As I just mentioned…they’re trying to fire these three Democratic legislators who participated in the protests.
And this is what we see from Florida to Tennessee in the United States. They are Republican officials who double down on dangerous bills that make our schools, places of worship, and communities less safe.
Protesters last week as they gathered at the Tennessee State Capitol to demand action from lawmakers on gun control after the Covenant school shooting.
Anti-gun protesters have taken action after six people were shot dead at a school in Nashville
On Monday, three Republicans introduced resolutions to expel the three Democrats and succeeded in requesting an expedited process by Thursday’s vote.
The three resolutions alleged that the three “knowingly and knowingly brought chaos and disgrace to the House of Representatives,” according to Tennessee Newspaper.
The result was new chaos on Monday when the first decision targeting Pearson was served.
Protesters shouted from the galleries and Pearson raised his fist in salute, while other Democrats raised their hands to protest.
Members of the audience chanted: Fascists! Fascists!
Johnson later said she would consider a lawsuit if she was fired, saying their protest was constitutionally protected.
“We’re going to fight back, and we’re going to fight this because it’s unprecedented and completely ridiculous,” she told Tennessee.
Johnson with protesters inside the state capitol last week calling for gun reform
She accused Republicans of double standards.
She added, “We’ve had a child molester on Earth for years, they helped him get re-elected and they did nothing to get him fired.”
We had members pee in each other’s chairs and nothing happened. But speak on the ground without permission, and you will be expelled.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton also announced that the three MPs had been stripped of their committee duties and said more sanctions could be on the way.
A few hours later, the House Republican Caucus Chair, Jeremy Faison, referred to Jones as the “former representative” during the evening session.
MPs leaving Monday evening after protests in the hall
After the vote, House Democrats said they stood behind all three.
They said in a statement that “the Democratic Gathering officially voted unanimously to oppose the baseless expulsion decisions and will oppose them with enthusiasm if they are put to a vote in the House of Representatives.”
The Black Caucus of state legislators in Tennessee also protested the decisions.
“This political retaliation is unconstitutional and, at this moment, morally bankrupt,” she said.
“The people who elected us are calling for meaningful action to end gun violence, and the people have the right to be heard through their duly elected representatives.”