- Rep. Hakeem Jeffries slammed newly elected Rep. Burgess Owens for urging Democrats to practice patriotism.
- Owens urged Democrats on Friday to recite the pledge to begin the House Judiciary Committee session.
- Jeffries said Owens couldn’t lecture about patriotism because he had voted to overturn the 2020 election results.
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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York rebuked newly elected Rep. Burgess Owens on Friday for “lecturing” Democrats on patriotism, even as Owens voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden won the election in November. But in the weeks that followed the election, numerous Republican lawmakers tried to persuade Americans without evidence that the results were not valid.
Owens, a freshman representative who only recently began his first House term, was one of those lawmakers. He’s a pro-Trump lawmaker from Utah who’s falsely said there’s “no question” Trump was re-elected to a second term.
During an organizing meeting with the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, Owens made an argument in favor of a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Owens and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz have previously urged Democrats to recite the pledge before the start of every House Judiciary Committee meeting. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who chairs the committee, denied the request because the House already begins each day in session with the pledge.
“It’s not about words. It’s about actions,” Owens said on Friday during his argument in favor of a second recitation.
Jeffries rebuked Owens in his response, suggesting he had little standing to preach to Democrats about being patriotic because Owens voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election when there was no legitimate reason to do so.
“I was hoping to engage with the new distinguished gentleman from Utah, as he sat here lecturing us about patriotism,” Jeffries said. “And I was just going to ask him how he voted after a violent mob attacked the Capitol to hunt down members of Congress, to hang [former Vice President] Mike Pence, to assassinate [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, to stop us from undertaking our constitutional responsibilities as part of the peaceful transfer of power.”
Owens was one of the lawmakers who voted to challenge the election results in Pennsylvania, where Biden secured 20 electoral votes after defeating Trump and turning the state blue.
“More than 100 officers seriously injured, brain injuries, head trauma,” Jeffries said. “One officer lost three fingers. Another officer, because of an assault on him, is likely to be blind. Officer [Brian] Sicknick died. Blood was spilled. Two other officers are no longer with us.”
“And you want to sit here and lecture us about patriotism?” Jeffries asked. “When you voted to object to an election that you know Joe Biden won, and perpetrated the big lie?”
“But the notion of you coming here lecturing us on your first day before this committee, it’s not about words it’s about actions?” Jeffries said. “You know what? Explain your actions on January 7th. When you supported an insurrection.”
The January 6 riot left at least five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were reportedly present.
Organizers were emboldened by President Donald Trump’s urges to protest the results of the 2020 election with him, despite Biden’s election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol building day to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed the Capitol building.
Upon news that the riot breached the Capitol building, lawmakers began to shelter in place and many evacuated.
One quick-thinking Senate aide secured the boxes containing the electoral votes, rescuing them from possible damage. The vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden went on as planned hours after the riot began.
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