A simple amendment proposal from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. turned a House Judiciary Committee meeting into an angry tit-for-tat after one Democratic member went too far.
On Wednesday, Gaetz suggested that all House Judiciary Committee meetings should open with the Pledge of Allegiance, a proposal that would require a rule change within the committee. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., declined to support the amendment because he said the House already convenes with the Pledge every day. This, he argues, would be redundant.
“I would oppose it simply on the grounds that, as members know, we pledge allegiance every day on the floor and I don’t know why we should pledge allegiance twice in the same day to show how patriotic we are,” he snorted.
I just introduced an amendment in the House Judiciary Committee to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before every meeting.
This is common sense. Why does patriotism make Democrats so heated? pic.twitter.com/Jl8E67vQdp
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) February 1, 2023
Fellow Republican Rep. Mike Johnson from Louisiana reminded Nadler that the Democrat is often not present for the morning Pledge.
“I’ve not seen Mr. Nadler on the floor when the pledge is done, and most members are not present there. So it’s not accurate to say we do the pledge every day or participate in the pledge every day. It may be offered but you’re not there for it,” Johnson said.
Nadler waved the criticism away, claiming that he has and will continue to recite the Pledge at the beginning of the day.
While it wasn’t a particularly contentious exchange, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I. was about to change that. He sardonically suggested altering the language of Gaetz’s proposed amendment to prevent “an individual who in any way supported an insurrection against the government of the United States” from leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
“If we adopt this amendment, then we will be truthful in representing that stating this pledge is an affirmation of your defense of democracy and the Constitution,” he jumped in, creating a problem where there hadn’t been one. “It’s hard to take that claim seriously if, in fact, an individual who in any way supported an insurrection against the government of the United States is allowed to lead the pledge.”
Naturally, this barb was upsetting for Gaetz and earned a quick rebuke.
“My concern would be if your definition of an insurrection is objecting to electors, then there would be many Democrats on the committee who wouldn’t be eligible to lead the Pledge,” the Republican fired back. “I mean, the last Republican to be sworn in absent Democratic objectors was [former President] George Herbert Walker Bush!”
The two would end up going back and forth for nearly half an hour before finally adopting Gaetz’s resolution. Even Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., couldn’t believe such a simple amendment devolved into such mud-flinging.
Would you believe me if I said the first half hour of our @JudiciaryGOP hearing has been wasted because Democrats oppose saying the pledge of allegiance?
— Congressman Jeff Van Drew (@Congressman_JVD) February 1, 2023
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