The Tennessee House of Representatives voted Thursday to expel two Democratic members who last week stood with protesters as they swarmed the chamber and threw the House into disarray.
Democratic representatives Justin Jones, and Justin Pearson on Friday “stood on the House floor and used a bullhorn to lead protesters” who flooded into the House, Reuters reported. Videos reportedly taken at the scene show protesters charging at police officers, joining the three Democrats in screaming chants, and blocking a doorway to prevent lawmakers from exiting. A third member, Gloria Johnson, also participated in the protest but survived the attempt to expel her.
Tennessee House speaker Cameron Sexton (R.), who is led the effort to discipline the three Democrats, compared the representatives’ disruption efforts to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, in which protesters entered the U.S. House chamber in an attempt to disrupt legislative business.
“Two of the members, Representative Jones and Representative Johnson, have been very vocal about January 6 in Washington, D.C.,” Sexton said. “What they did today was equivalent … [to] doing an insurrection in the Capitol.”
The representatives and protesters were calling for gun control in the wake of the March 27 school shooting in Nashville.
Demonstrators returned to the Capitol on Thursday to protest the Democrats’ expulsions.
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