President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama released blistering statements after two Democratic lawmakers were expelled from the Republican-dominated Tennesse Legislature on Thursday, April 6. Reps. Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson were expelled after separate expulsion hearings, with Rep. Gloria Johnson escaping the punitive damage.
Per ABC News, they were booted for allegedly “violating the chamber’s rules of decorum” by being party to a gun control protest at the state’s Capitol last week, following a brutal private school shooting that killed six in Nashville on March 27. “This nation was built on peaceful protest,” tweeted Obama after the news. “No elected official should lose their job simply for raising their voice – especially when they’re doing it on behalf of our children.”
This nation was built on peaceful protest. No elected official should lose their job simply for raising their voice – especially when they’re doing it on behalf of our children.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 7, 2023
He continued with another tweet reading, “What happened in Tennessee is the latest example of a broader erosion of civility and democratic norms. Silencing those who disagree with us is a sign of weakness, not strength, and it won’t lead to progress.”
Meanwhile, President Biden also released an official White House response to the unprecedented measures. “Last week, three more students and three school officials were gunned down in yet another tragic mass shooting in Nashville,” he wrote. “On Monday, 7,000 Tennesseans, many of them students, marched to their state capitol to call on their lawmakers to take action and keep them safe. Instead, state Republican lawmakers called votes today to expel three Democratic legislators who stood in solidarity with students and families and helped lift their voices.”
The President continued with a blistering critique of the expulsions. “Today’s expulsion of lawmakers who engaged in peaceful protest is shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent,” he wrote. “Rather than debating the merits of the issue, these Republican lawmakers have chosen to punish, silence, and expel duly-elected representatives of the people of Tennessee.”
Biden said that a “strong majority” of Americans “want lawmakers to act on commonsense gun safety reforms that we know will save lives,” he wrote. “But instead, we’ve continued to see Republican officials across America double down on dangerous bills that make our schools, places of worship, and communities less safe. Our kids continue to pay the price.”
Finally, he stated that Congress must “ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, require safe storage of firearms, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and require background checks for all gun sales, and state officials must do the same.”
Former Vice President Al Gore also took to Twitter with criticism of the harsh measures on Thursday evening. “Today’s GOP-led vote in the TN House disenfranchised nearly 150,000 voters whose representatives rightfully pushed to reform TN’s insanely dangerous gun laws after the horrific mass murder at The Covenant School last week. What a historically sad day for democracy in Tennessee,” he wrote.
This is a developing story and will be updated….