A rude, confrontational socialist got put in his place by a Republican lawmaker who some say was too aggressive in his approach. Was it assault?
Self-described “Democratic Socialist” and “progressive activist” Jake Burdett repeatedly disrupted a Washington, D.C. press conference with Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) on Wednesday, shouting over the lawmakers as they attempted to speak.
“Can you talk about when you did that rally with the Neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes?” he yelled as Gosar was addressing the media. “Can you talk about when your family did an ad all endorsing your opponent? Why did that happen?”
I am currently being detained by DC Police for asking tough questions to far right extremist Congressmen @RepGosar and @laurenboebert at a press conference. Rep Clay Higgins proceeded to assault/physically remove me from the press conference.For this, the cops detained me,not him pic.twitter.com/iX4yjCGKsZ
— Jake Burdett (@jake_burdett) May 17, 2023
It was then that Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) calmly approached the provocateur and identified himself as a Congressman as Burdett cried, “Don’t touch me!”
“I’ll make you a deal,” Higgins said. “Listen, let this man talk and then I’ll come talk to you privately.”
“Listen, I respect your First Amend–” Higgins began, while Burdett demanded his name. “All I’m asking you to do is just peacefully stand by with your camera, and I promise you — look at me — I’ll come talk to you straight up, I’ll answer all of your questions. Fair enough?”
As Rep. Boebert was speaking, Burdett began again.
“Representative Boebert,” he shouted over her, “can you talk about your divorce? Did it have anything to do with giving food poisoning to Shooters Bar and Grill? Just a question about your divorce, please.”
The activist was quickly approached again and asked to leave as he responded, “Get off me!”
Higgins evidently had had enough, informing Burdett that he was “on the wrong side of the barricade.”
Burdett moved closer to Boebert, and Higgins declared, “No, you’re out.”
Then things got physical.
Like a bodyguard at a Beyoncé concert, Higgins firmly took hold of Burdett and half-walked, half-dragged the activist from the event.
“Aren’t you a Congressperson touching me?” Burdett cried. “Get off me! You’re hurting me!”
Burdett then took to Twitter, having evidently achieved exactly what he wanted — a viral reaction from a fed-up Republican.
“I am currently being detained by DC Police for asking tough questions to far right extremist Congressmen
@RepGosar and @laurenboebert at a press conference,” he wrote. “Rep Clay Higgins proceeded to assault/physically remove me from the press conference. For this, the cops detained me, not him.”
No one was hurt in the confrontation, but the Congressman is now under attack for his approach and handling of the incident. Many have joined Burdett in a chorus of outrage.
Kristy Fogle, founder of the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition, posted another view of Burdett’s humiliating ejection and asked, “@RepClayHiggins pushing an activist for asking tough questions is supposed to be normal?”
“We are Maryland political activists. It’s not uncommon for us to come to DC and attempt to ask hard questions to Republicans AND Democrats,” she continued. “But, I’ve never seen a Rep. behave this aggressively.”
@RepClayHiggins pushing an activist for asking tough questions is supposed to be normal? pic.twitter.com/CQx6s3PCQ3
— Kristy Fogle PA-C (@kristyfoglePAC) May 17, 2023
We are Maryland political activists. It’s not uncommon for us to come to DC and attempt to ask hard questions to Republicans AND Democrats. But, I’ve never seen a Rep. behave this aggressively.
— Kristy Fogle PA-C (@kristyfoglePAC) May 18, 2023
“The thing we need to be asking ourselves is ‘what if this were a member of the Democratic Party assaulting a protestor?'” she stated. “If any sitting member of Congress can put their hands on someone with impunity, we have a big problem.”
The thing we need to be asking ourselves is “what if this were a member of the Democratic Party assaulting a protestor?” If any sitting member of Congress can put their hands on someone with impunity, we have a big problem.
— Kristy Fogle PA-C (@kristyfoglePAC) May 18, 2023
Burdett floated the idea of legal action for the “assault.”
“This is me in this video,” he tweeted. “Do any attorneys feel that this was assault, and would be willing to help me pursue legal action?”
This is me in this video. Do any attorneys feel that this was assault, and would be willing to help me pursue legal action? https://t.co/oYMKB1UeU4
— Jake Burdett (@jake_burdett) May 18, 2023
And just like that, liberals on Twitter began demonizing Higgins as a violent man who belonged behind bars.
Yes, assault, battery, and a potential civil rights violation.
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) May 18, 2023
Has Louisiana Congress Rep LA-03 Clay Higgins been arrested yet?
Higgins, a misogynist and Freedom Caucus member, supports freedom for white MEN only. He compares women to the Holocaust should they ever need to terminate their pregnancy.
— Romulus (@SueRomulus) May 18, 2023
Get a good lawyer and sue him for battery and also sue the police for illegally detaining you.
— Ana Alvarez (@aairis58) May 18, 2023
Apparently @RepGosar has a personal enforcer in Congress, Clay Higgins, who will assault citizens asking unwelcome questions in public! Higgins should be cited for assault.#GosarTheGroyper https://t.co/NMO7MGOXU6
— BlogForArizona (@BlogForArizona) May 18, 2023
It was a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” moment for conservatives courtesy of the Democrats.
If ignored, Burdett would likely have continued disrupting the press conference. When reprimanded — albeit, with a heavy dose of Alpha Male assertion — he was then seen as a victim. In the world of progressive politics, that’s considered a “win-win.”
“All this jackass filming wanted was attention!” one user stated on Twitter. “Interrupting a press conference like that is out of line! PERIOD!”
All this jackass filming wanted was attention! Interrupting a press conference like that is out of line! PERIOD! https://t.co/3ATJUed911
— AmySutton (@TeamAmerica2020) May 18, 2023
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