NASHVILLE – Vice President Kamala Harris made a surprise visit to Nashville on Friday to push for gun control and protested gun reform on the state floor with two Tennessee Democratic lawmakers who were kicked out of the General Assembly.
The trip was quickly scheduled after Tennessee House Republicans voted Thursday to expel Reps. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, voted 72-25, and Rep. Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, 69-26, on the move, which has drawn condemnation from President Joe Biden and has become a national car control and stadium.
Two Black legislators – and a third Democrat, Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville – was chastised by Republicans for leading protests with bullies from the House floor after a mass shooting at a Nashville private Christian school killed six people. Johnson, who is white, was driven into exile by one vote.
“Six people, including three children, were killed in a Nashville school shooting last week,” Harris said in a tweet. “How did the Republican lawyers in Tennessee respond? They expelled their colleagues who stood in Tennessee and said enough is enough. This is civil and dangerous.”
Harris is scheduled to meet with legislators at Fisk University, a group of community leaders who are open to advocates for helping evictions.
Pearson was met with applause and raucous applause upon arriving at the event.
“They can drive out democracy,” he said, “by talking to the crowd from a stone platform.” “But we’re still here!”
A White House official said Harris traveled to Nashville to raise the “voices” of thousands of voters who led demonstrations at the Tennessee state Capitol to change gun laws but did not budge on the state’s major policy.
Harris will also renew Biden’s call to Congress to pass a national ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
More:Tennessee Republicans expel two of the ‘Tennessee Three’ House Democrats to protest pro-gun reform
Harris intends to meet with the Democratic State Legislature caucus, including Jones, Pearson and Johnson, as well as the young people who led the protests at the Tennessee Capitol.
The president “wants to make sure the voices of those young people are heard,” a White House official said. “In the face of tragic events, they want action.”
Among those waiting outside Fisk before the event was Nicholas Umontuen, who teaches business administration at the university. Umontuen said he was “shocked” and “shocked” by the decision to expel the lawyers. But he gives him the country’s attention in the hope of raising the voices of young people fighting for change.
Three lawyers, known as the “Tennessee Three”, were accused by the Republican leader of breaking the rules of decorum and speaking on the floor of the House on March 30 without recognition.
More:‘Convention to act’: Biden says there is nothing more his guns can do
But by running ahead with the expulsions of the Republican speaker of the state House, Cameron Sexton, he turned two Democrats who had no legislative power in the Republican supermajority into abandoned national heroes in politics.
Biden, in a statement, called the expulsion “egregious, unreasonable and unprecedented.” He said that those Republican legislators would rather debate the merits of guns than those elected to punish, silence, and expel the duly elected representatives of the people of Tennessee.
Reach out to Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison and Michael Collins @mcollinsNEWS.