Some Legislators Encourage Tea Partiers’ Abusiveness
You may have heard or read about the ugly scenes on Capitol Hill yesterday, when a few conservative activists shouted racial and homophobic epithets at Democratic lawmakers. Today the conservative activists are back. And so is the ugliness–only this time, a few Republicans were actually encouraging them.
That’s an incendiary charge, I know. But let me describe what just transpired here inside the House of Representatives:
Moments ago, while members were on the floor for a vote, a protester stood up in the visitor’s gallery and began shouting “Kill the bill! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!” Clerks quickly removed him. But as they were doing so, a number of Republicans–at least half a dozen, from what I could see from a few feet away–were cheering the man.
Representative Barney Frank, who was the target of yesterday’s homophobic epithets, told reporters he was “appalled” and that he felt the Republicans “were encouraging him to resist. … I’ve never seen members of the House cheering on a guy resisting being kicked out of the gallery. It’s a dangerous situation and the Republicans are cheering him on.”
Frank says he approached one of his Republican colleagues–I think he said it was Missouri’s Roy Blunt–and told them his caucus should not be stoking this kind of emotion. Blunt apparently replied by saying he wasn’t one of the Republicans cheering.
Bart Stupak is about to make an announcement.