Fox News figures condemned the House Democrats’ nearly 24 hour long sit-in to demand a vote for gun violence prevention legislation as a disrespectful “breakdown of the rule of law.”
Democrats Hold Sit-In On House Floor To Demand Legislation Addressing Gun Violence
House Democrats Hold All Night Sit-In To Push For Vote On Gun-Violence Prevention Control Measure. Several House Democrats held a June 22 sit-in on the gallery floor of the House of Representatives that lasted all day and into the next morning in order to push for a vote on a gun violence prevention measure following the Orlando mass shooting that left 49 dead. Led by Georgia Congressman John Lewis, House Democrats exclaimed they would not leave the floor until they were promised a vote:
Democratic lawmakers planned to hit the 24-hour mark in their disruptive sit-in at the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday and said they will keep pushing for a vote on gun control legislation even though the House began a holiday break.
After a raucous day that nearly erupted into a fistfight on the House floor, Republicans used their majority status to assert control over the chamber during the night. They adjourned early on Thursday after forcing through several measures unrelated to guns and said there would be no more votes until after the July 4 holiday.
The Democrats stayed put on the House floor. Galvanized by the June 12 massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, they had demanded that Republican leaders allow a vote on gun-related legislation.
Republicans, angry about losing control of the chamber for most of a day, denounced the sit-in as a publicity stunt. Chaotic scenes ensued when several Republican representatives charged the chamber floor and yelled at protesting Democrats, prompting a confrontation that nearly descended into fisticuffs.
House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted he would not bring up any bill that would take away gun owners' constitutional rights.
Instead, he forced votes on unrelated legislation. Democrats held signs honoring victims of gun violence during the votes and sang "We Shall Overcome," an anthem of the civil rights movement.
Ryan called for decorum but could scarcely be heard over Democrats chanting "no bill, no break!" to demand action on guns before the holiday recess. [Reuters, 6/23/16]
Right Wing Media Slam Sit-In As Loss Of “The Rule Of Law”
Fox’s Peter Johnson Jr.: House Gun Violence Sit-In "A Breakdown Of The Rule Of Law." Fox analyst Peter Johnson Jr. slammed the House Democrats’ sit-in as a “spectacle,” “chaos,” and a “breakdown of the rule of law.” He went on to call the Democrats’ actions “historically stupid,” “historically disturbing,” and “a bad example to all of America.” From the June 23 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Chaos erupting on the House floor as House Democrats stage a sit-in over gun control, sitting on the issue for nearly an entire day. But are Democrats getting their point across or was it all a publicity stunt? Here to break it all down for us is Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. Good morning.
PETER JOHNSON JR.: Good morning. It is a breakdown. It's a breakdown of the rule of law. So by spectacle, by chaos, "by bedlam" as The New York Times calls it, the Congress, through the Democrats, are acting in a way that we have really never seen in our American history. I was watching one of the liberal channels last night and they said, "Well this is historic." Well, this is historically stupid, this is historically disturbing, this is a bad example to all of America. Will Congress next go to the U.S. Supreme Court and sit in there or teach in there? Will they next go to the White House and sit in there and teach in there? Where will they next upset the apple cart? Where will they next say, "Well we're going to go to the state capitol in Albany, maybe we'll go in California. We're going to upset the legislative apple cart and say you can't enact any kind of legislation because we're going to sing, we're going to dance, we're going to sit in, we're going to stop it because this is a spectacle that we can't get the attention that we can get at the convention." It's a floor demonstration and a Democratic convention. It's a street rally. And there is no place in the Congress for a street rally, whether it's Republican or whether it's Democrat. So you think about the great decorum. You think about the great dignity of a Congress, whether it agrees with itself or it doesn't. But now we have absolute chaos and absolute disregard for the rule of law, and it's a bad example for all Americans. No wonder people say this Congress sucks. Because they proved it last night.
EARHARDT: You talk about dignity, when you look at the pictures, it's them like kindergarteners sitting on the carpet down on the floor.
JOHNSON: Well let's -- but you're absolutely right, let's show this side by side. Let's show two iconic pictures that we saw in America this week. People on the left, and that little girl standing on the toilet on the right. What do they have in common? The truth is, that little girl stands on that toilet because Congress, through the Democrats, sit on their behind. So now we invoke a John Lennon and Yoko Ono in a love-in. So now we invoke Dharna protesters in India trying to collect a debt. So now we invoke Occupy Wall Street in the halls of Congress. Let's invoke this iconic symbol, of the signing of the Constitution, one of the most famous symbols in America. They disagreed with each other, but they came together. America can come together. We can stop gun violence and we can stop terror. But the Democrats in Congress have to stop their nonsense first. Stand up for what they believe in. Don't interrupt Congress. It really is deplorable and disturbing, and all Americans they should be calling Congress and say, "Cut it out. Cut it out now." [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/23/16]
Fox’s Andrew Napolitano: House Gun Violence Sit-In Shows "Disrespect For The Institution They Claim To Love." Fox senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano denounced the sit-in as “intimidation and … disrespect for the institution [House Democrats] claim to love.” From the June 23 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): So judge what did you make of what was happening?
ANDREW NAPOLITANO: For the first two years of Barack Obama's presidency the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and of course the White House.
DOOCY: Could have gotten anything done.
NAPOLITANO: How many gun control measures did they introduce then? Zero. This is not about gun control. This is about intimidation and this is about the profound divisions in the country and it's about their disrespect for the institution they claim to love. The other side of this is these things have happened in the past. People have hit each other with the canes and thrown -- I'm sorry to tell you this, they have thrown spittoons at each other on the floor of the House of Representatives a hundred years ago. I don't think they gained a single vote. I think they showed America just how frustrated they are and can be when they try to take away as Congressman [Louie] Gohmert [(R-TX)] just said "a fundamental liberty." The right to self-defense is a fundamental personal right. It can't be taken away by legislation. It can only be taken away by a jury if you've been convicted of committing a crime. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 6/23/16]
Fox’s Chris Stirewalt: “This Is What It Looks Like In Banana Republics.” Fox digital editor Chris Stirewalt slammed the sit-in, comparing it to “what it looks like in failed states.” From the June 23 edition of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom:
BILL HEMMER (HOST): Lay it out, how do you see it this morning? Analyze it.
CHRIS STIREWALT: This is what a broken system looks like. This is -- we see it in our presidential election this year. We see it in the executive orders of President Obama. We see it now in a minority party seizing control of a constitutionally created chamber of the legislative branch. This is what it looks like, this is not something Americans are familiar with because this is what it looks like in failed states. This is what it looks like in banana republics. This is where it doesn’t work. And once it starts not working, a dangerous thing happens. And the dangerous thing happens is, people feel entitled to -- you talk about -- Paul Ryan talked about due process vis a vis whether you can get your name off of the no buy list if you are wrongly put there. But here we are talking about due process of how do elections work? What are the consequences of elections? How does a bill become law? People increasingly don't care, and if they don’t care, they feel entitled to do whatever they want to do to break the rules. And then the rules get more and more broken.
HEMMER: Do the Democrats see this as smart politics? Do Republicans join the debate? Is it over for now?
STIREWALT: The debate over guns, over citizens' access to firearms in the United States is never over. It is always with us. The question here is interestingly, relatively marginal. There is broad support for not allowing people who are on terrorist watchlists to buy a firearm. That’s a bipartisan agreement. The only point of disagreement, not the only point, but the substantial point of disagreement here is are you allowed if you are forbidden from purchasing a gun to seek redress of your grievance. So you go to the government and say that there is due process by which you can get your name off the list because it’s your constitutional right. The Democrats say we don’t have time to create all that, now we must simply act before another one of these things occur. And any time you can invoke dead people. Any time that you can say we must act now or people will die, then you can say we don't have time for all the niceties. We just must proceed. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 6/23/16]