While the world awaited Tuesday’s guilty verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Orlando Democratic Rep. Val Demings was laying into her Republican colleague, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
The former Orlando Police chief charged Jordan (and other Republican lawmakers) with hypocrisy toward law enforcement officers.
Demings began her criticism of Jordan’s statements of support of good law enforcement officers as too little and too late — but otherwise generally welcome — during Tuesday’s House Judiciary Committee meeting.
When Jordan, a conservative firebrand, tried to interrupt by accusing Demings of questioning his motives, she exploded.
Demings pounded the table with a palm, then a fist, demanding: “I have the floor, Mr. Jordan!”
At that point, both Jordan and Judiciary Committee Chair Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York started shouting. Demings attempted to press her point, but Jordan continued to interrupt. Nadler tried to shout down Jordan as out of order and get Demings to stop until he gained control.
“What? Did I strike a nerve?” Demings yelled. “Law enforcement officers deserve better than to be utilized as pawns!”
Demings is a former chief who spent 27 years on the Orlando police force. She has also been one of the harshest critics of former President Donald Trump and his supporters, particularly for the false story that led to the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol resulting in several police officers’ deaths. Demings frequently blasted the notion that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump.
Jordan is a former Ohio State wrestling coach. He is also one of Trump’s most outspoken advocates and a promoter of the false narrative of the stolen election.
As Nadler tried to regain control, Demings continued, as did Jordan. Decorum broke down for several minutes.
“And you and your colleagues should be ashamed at yourselves,” Demings got in before Nadler asked her to suspend her comments. “Mr. Jordan, you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about. You know nothing about what law enforcement …”
Jordan finally got an open mic and said, “I know about my motive.”
“And you’re using them …” Demings continued. “I have watched them live and die, and you know nothing about that.”
“When you give a speech about motives and start questioning our motives,” Jordan continued.
Nadler finally got both to stop shouting. Jordan pressed a point of order. Nadler ruled against it, instructing Demings to continue.
“Mr. Chairman, I am glad to hear that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are on the side of law enforcement now,” she said. “Because I don’t know where my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been over the last four years, including on Jan. 6, when police officers who protect us every day were fighting for their lives because of the big lie that was told.
“And my colleagues on the other side of the aisle were silent, as one person after another took to the microphone and said, ‘Go down there and engage in combat! Fight like Hell!'” Demings said, clearly angry behind her mask.
Demings then expanded her argument to include the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act, which was approved without any Republican votes in Congress. The act provides money for, among many other things, local governments to sustain law enforcement budgets in cities and counties across the country that have suffered revenue losses due to the coronavirus crisis.
“But now, today, you support law enforcement,” Demings continued, calming a bit. “Well, that’s, I’m, I’m delighted to know that. But don’t support them when it’s politically convenient for you to do so.”
Then she riled up again.
“Support them when they’re under attack by people fighting them and spraying them and knocking them to the ground, and beating them with poles!” she said.
It's interesting to see my colleagues on the other side of the aisle support the police when it's politically convenient to do so, but not when police officers who protect us every day here at the Capitol were fighting for their lives because of the Big Lie. @HouseJudiciary pic.twitter.com/x9i9LO5AAi
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) April 20, 2021