Republican Utah U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens on Friday (February 5) tried to lecture the House Judiciary Committee about patriotism. But Democratic Caucus Chair and New York U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was having none of it.
During its organizational meeting, Owens, a pro-Trumper, delivered a long statement in support of a motion to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Rep. Owens, referencing the flag salute, told his colleagues “it’s not about words, it’s about actions,” according to Mediaite.
Jeffries, in a lengthy response, cited Owens’ vote to overturn President Joe Biden’s win, even after the January 6 insurrection in the U.S. Capitol building.
“I was hoping to engage with the new distinguished gentleman from Utah, as he sat here lecturing us about patriotism,” Jeffries began, “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 Mike Pence, to assassinate Nancy Pelosi, to stop us from undertaking our constitutional responsibilities as part of the peaceful transfer of power, more than a hundred officers seriously injured, brain injuries, head trauma, one officer lost three fingers, another officer, because of an assault on him, is likely to be blind. Officer Sicknick died, blood was spilled, two other officers are no longer with us.”
Jeffries then lambasted Owens’ comments about actions over words, the political news website notes.
“And you want to sit here and lecture us about patriotism? When you voted to object to an election that you know Joe Biden won, and perpetrated the big lie?” Jeffries said, then spoke about looking forward to working with Owens, as Democrats had worked with Trump.
“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.”
Several Republicans then attempted to interrupt Jeffries, who was instructed to address his remarks to the chair.
Jeffries subsequently replied “No. You don’t really want any of this either.”
Moments later, Owens responded, bringing up past elections in what he believed to be an equivalency of the violence that plagued Washington in early January.
“Was it insurrection when in 2016, seven of your colleagues objected?” Owens asked. “Was it insurrection when the past three Republican wins, presidential wins, that objected? No it was not. It was a voice, it was having a people realize you have some concern. Now in terms of integrity…”
“Reclaiming my time,” Jeffries interrupted. “You asked a question. I would just simply say, and the impeachment manager’s going to do a great job, but a violent insurrection resulted in the spilling of American blood. People died. The Capitol was desecrated. Urine and feces was left behind. The Confederate flag was bandied about. That didn’t even happen in this Capitol during the Civil War.”
He concluded: “The Trump flag was placed in the stead of the American flag. That’s an insurrection, that’s sedition, that’s undemocratic, that’s problematic, and the American thing to do is to stand up to it. I yield back.”
Watch the exchange below.