More democratic drama has come to pass in the Tennessee state House, just weeks after state representatives there garnered the national spotlight following their leading of an aggressive “protest” that violated House rules, their subsequent expulsion, and their prompt reinstatement following a Democrat-led national media campaign.
“A state lawmaker in Tennessee resigned suddenly for an ethics violation that became public Thursday, two weeks after he joined fellow Republicans in expelling two Black Democratic legislators for protesting in support of gun control on the state House floor,” the Associated Press reported.
Tennessee state Rep. Scotty Campbell resigned effective immediately, communicating his decision within a letter to his colleagues. Campbell appears to have been accused of engaging in inappropriate private discussions with two interns at an off-site location, though details are scant.
The AP, in a column titled “Tennessee Republican lawmaker resigns after ethics violation,” utilized its very first sentence on the matter to tie the subject to the Republican expulsion of “two Black Democratic” representatives for “protesting in support of gun control on the state House floor.”
The AP statement is referring to the storming of the Tennessee state Capitol by a crowd that appeared to be incited — or led — by the two representatives. The protesters utilized megaphones and other tactics to disrupt official proceedings and tussled with police who had retreated into the strategically narrow confines of a doorway, as video shows. They were protesting that the democratic process had not yielded the legislative results that they demanded. The protest — what many would term a riot — erupted following the shooting deaths of three 9-year-old students and three faculty at a Christian elementary school targeted by a transgender activist.
The House speaker described the mayhem as an “insurrection.”
The two representatives expelled for their roles in leading what, until then, was frequently described as an “insurrection” and “attack on our very democracy” were the subjects of lavish media attention following their expulsion, even appearing on “Good Morning America” to receive congratulations. Vice President Kamala Harris changed her plans to visit and praise them, though she was criticized for not finding time for the families of the victims. The two representatives were promptly reinstated by the Nashville city council.
Campbell can expect no such championing and his reinstatement is highly unlikely.
“Republicans have faced scrutiny about how they have chosen to wield, or not wield, the power” of expulsion, the AP wrote. It quoted state Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, who came within one vote of expulsion herself but was spared due to her less aggressive role in the mayhem. Johnson took the opportunity to accuse her colleagues of being racists, suggesting that she was spared expulsion due to her skin color, as she is white. She also reportedly said, “Yet if you talk without permission, you get expulsion resolutions.”
Campbell, however, appears to have talked without permission. And, perhaps, to have said the wrong things. Though details remain scarce, the ethics subcommittee in the majority Republican Tennessee House appears to have voted against Campbell, finding that he violated the “workplace discrimination and harassment policy.”
Campbell is reported to have said, “I had consensual, adult conversations with two adults off property. If I choose to talk to any intern in the future, it will be recorded.” He reportedly resigned hours later.
Having mentioned that Republicans are under scrutiny, the AP wrapped up by providing a list of numerous occasions on which Tennessee Republicans have voted to hold fellow Tennessee Republicans accountable for various deeds.
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