Tennessee lawmakers voted on Thursday to expel two of the three Democratic House members involved in a protest to storm the House floor last week.
Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson were expelled, with Rep. Gloria Johnson surviving in a narrow vote.
#BREAKING: Tennessee Republicans expel two of three Democratic lawmakers who protested on House floor https://t.co/m54cpZYZxI
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) April 7, 2023
"On Thursday, lawmakers first voted 72-25 to expel Jones, 27, one of the youngest members of the legislature. The resolution to expel Johnson failed by one vote, 65 to 30," CBS News reported.
"But Pearson, 28, was also expelled, in a 69-26 vote. The GOP supermajority had accused the representatives of breaking house rules on conduct and decorum," it added.
We have always welcomed peaceful protestors to the capitol to have their voices heard on any issue.
— Speaker Cameron Sexton (@CSexton25) April 3, 2023
State House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R) shared his concern about Jones in a tweet following the events.
"We have always welcomed peaceful protestors to the capitol to have their voices heard on any issue," he wrote.
"We have heard the voices of the students, the protestors, and individuals from across the state. We cannot allow the actions of the three members to distract us from protecting our children. We will get through this together, and it will require talking about all solutions," he added.
White House Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre calls expected expulsion votes for three Tennessee state representatives who protested for gun reform during a state House session “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent.” pic.twitter.com/yeCZcbZRAs
— The Recount (@therecount) April 6, 2023
The White House blasted the removal of Jones. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred to the vote as “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent.”
Some labeled the move as racist, as Johnson is white and her two expelled fellow Democrats are black.
“I am a 60-year-old White woman, and they are two young Black men,” Johnson said, according to CNN.
Nashville continues to grieve following the deaths of six people at the Covenant School last week at the hands of a school shooter but Democrats joining a protest to storm the House floor is not helping solve gun violence. Instead, the actions have led to further controversy and the removal of two Democrats involved in a move that focuses more on politics than on solving gun violence.