House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) attracted bipartisan criticism over reports that her office denied a request for the son of an incoming GOP congresswoman to attend her swearing-in ceremony earlier this week.
Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) rebuked the House speaker’s move in a scathing tweet questioning Pelosi’s leadership style, Fox News reported.
The backlash against Pelosi stems from the recently declared win for Republican Claudia Tenney, who narrowly defeated the Democratic incumbent to represent New York’s 22nd congressional district.
Although Pelosi had allowed incoming lawmakers to bring one family member to last month’s event, Tenney’s request to have her son, a Marine, accompany her at the more recent ceremony was denied, according to Fox.
“Is it petty partisanship? Vengeance? Or more vilification of our troops?” Gabbard wrote in response. “This is not the kind of leadership that will unite our country.”
The former Hawaii congresswoman went on to call it “a slap in the face of all servicemembers…who put their lives on the line for our country.”
Tenney was sworn in on Thursday after seeking permission for her son, Trey Cleary, to join her. Cleary had reportedly managed to secure time off for the event.
“He just wanted to be there for me”
The freshman congresswoman claimed that Pelosi summarily denied the request without providing a satisfactory reason, noting that her son “waited outside the gallery door” during the ceremony.
Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill, however, issued a statement denying that Pelosi had anything to do with making the final decision.
“As this former Congresswoman well knows, the House Sergeant at Arms and the Attending Physician set COVID restrictions in the Capitol,” he tweeted. “Politics play no role in these institutional officers’ efforts to protect the safety of Capitol workers, press, staff, and Members.”
He went on to note that the attending physician and sergeant at arms made an exception for the Jan. 3 ceremony, allowing incoming legislators to bring along one family member. Nevertheless, Tenney described the ordeal as “very disappointing,” asserting that she “got no real answers as to why this was denied.”
As for her son, she added: “He was disappointed. He just wanted to be there for me. We are very close.”