Apr 5, 2023 - Politics

White House opposes expelling Tennessee lawmakers

Protesters listen during a house session from the gallery at the Tennessee State Capitol.

Protesters listen during a House session from the gallery on Monday. Photo: Seth Herald/Getty Images

Opposition to a Republican push to expel three Democratic Tennessee lawmakers extended all the way to the White House, which spoke out Tuesday against the GOP effort.

State of play: House Republicans are advancing a proposal to expel Democratic Reps. Justin Jones, Gloria Johnson and Justin Pearson for their roles in an anti-gun rally last week.

  • The trio interrupted a House floor session last week with a bullhorn to yell for stricter gun laws. The representatives spoke on behalf of protestors, who have held massive rallies at the Capitol in the wake of The Covenant School massacre.

What they're saying: "Seven thousand students peacefully marched to the capitol to confront their lawmakers for their failure to keep them safe at school," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing Tuesday. "And what did these Republican legislators do? They're trying to expel these three Democratic legislators who joined in the protests."

  • "By doing what they're doing with these three Democratic legislators, they're shrugging in the face of yet another tragic school shooting while our kids continue to pay the price."

What's next: Resolutions to expel the trio, who some supporters have referred to as the Tennessee Three, are scheduled for votes on Thursday.

  • According to the expulsion resolutions, the representatives are accused of "knowingly and intentionally" bringing "disorder and dishonor" to the House.
  • They were already stripped of their committee assignments and their security swipe cards were deactivated.
  • If they are expelled, the members can run again for their old offices.

Also: The state chapter of the ACLU came out against removing the lawmakers.

  • "Expulsion is an extreme measure that is used very infrequently in our state and our country because it strips voters of representation by the people they elected," said executive director Kathy Sinback.

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