Biden invites 'Tennessee Three' lawmakers for WH visit
After two Democrat members of the Tennessee House of representatives were expelled from the chamber over their roles in a disruptive, raucous gun control protest at the state Capitol, and a third narrowly escaped the same fate, President Joe Biden invited the trio to come visit him at the White House, as the New York Post reports.
The demonstration at issue came days after the mass shooting at Nashville's Covenant School, which left six victims dead, including three children, and devolved into a chaotic scene inside the well of the state House.
Biden extends invitation
Booted from the state House for violating the chamber's rules of decorum were Democrat Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, while Rep. Gloria Johnson managed to remain in her seat by a one-vote margin.
Though their expulsion resolutions alleged that the Democrats “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives through their individual and collective actions” and arguably sought to incite an insurrection, many on the left declared the members' removal as acts of unadulterated racism, in that Jones and Justin are Black and Johnson is White.
Never one to let an exploitable racial angle – accurate or not – go to waste, Biden announced Friday on Instagram that he spoke with the three renegade Democrats in order to “thank them for their leadership and courage in the face of a blatant disregard of our nation's democratic values.”
According to a White House pool report, as the Post noted, the lawmakers were invited to visit with the president in Washington, and that meeting will occur “in the near future.”
Harris weighs in
In addition to Biden's gesture of support, the so-called Tennessee Three also received words of encouragement from Vice President Kamala Harris, as CBS News reported.
Harris made her take on the situation known during an appearance at Fisk University in Nashville in which she was greeted with riotous applause and standing ovations for echoing the themes of stricter gun control voiced by the protestors at the State House.
Lauding the efforts of the lawmakers who faced expulsion proceedings, Harris said of the group, “They chose to show courage in the face of extreme tragedy. A democracy allows for places where the people's voice to be heard and honored and respected, and they understood the importance, these three, of steanding to say the people will not be silenced.”
The vice president also held a private meeting with Jones, Johnson, and Pearson and with local officials and gun control advocates, according to the outlet.
Reactions pour in
Though Harris' words in Nashville garnered praise on the left, a number of other commentators slammed the vice president for going to Tennessee for what they believe were all the wrong reasons, as the Post noted separately.
Pundit Dan Eberhart observed, “Kamala Harris isn't going to Tennessee to meet with the families of those who died in the horrific shooting. She's going there to meet with Democrats who are upset over facing consequences for their actions.”
Conservative actor and comedian Rob Schneider lambasted Harris, saying that her itinerary in Nashville “reveals herself” in that “[s]he visits when 3 Dem legislators are kicked out or censured by Tennessee legislature. But she doesn't visit when 3 Nine Year Old Children are murdered....”
But, given the fact that the Biden administration has fallen all over itself in recent days to make public statements of support for the transgender community – despite the fact that one of its members was responsible for the carnage at Covenant School – it is sadly not terribly surprising that the victims' families did not make the cut for either a White House visit or an in-person discussion with Harris during her swing through the Volunteer State.