Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over an incident in which her staff kicked his 5-year-old daughter off the House floor along with children of other lawmakers.
“The inability to show kindness to children, which aren’t a problem, gives you almost a poster of what’s becoming wrong with this leadership,” Schweikert said Thursday in a statement posted on the House Freedom Caucus’ Facebook page about the incident, which occurred Tuesday.
The Facebook post describes what happened and adds: “Shameful!”
In remarks on the House floor, Schweikert, first elected to the House in 2011, said the incident helps explain “why this place is falling apart with hate.”
“Dear heaven,” he added, “I hope that when this August recess hits, there is some soul-searching evaluation of what we’ve turned this place into.”
In his remarks, Schweikert calmly shared his shock and dismay about how aides to Pelosi, D-Calif., treated his daughter and the other children, who he said were visiting the House floor with their lawmaker parents.
“This place has about a centurylong tradition during the summer of us bringing our children here,” Schweikert said, adding:
Two days ago, a handful of us [lawmakers] showed up here, [including] my 5-year-old daughter, and we wanted to bring our children on the floor. And instantly, representatives of the speaker, and I know they’re doing their jobs—they were brutal about it, but they were doing their jobs—[said], ‘You can’t bring your children on the floor.’
Schweikert said he asked why, and a member of Pelosi’s staff replied, “It’s against the rules.”
“‘Well, OK, I’ll respect the rules,’” Schweikert recalled saying. “‘Show it to me in writing.’ And he ran off and came back 15 minutes later, [saying,] ‘Well, we can’t find it in writing.'”
The Arizona Republican said the House speaker’s staff then said children weren’t allowed on the House floor because of COVID-19, although health officials consistently have said that children represent an almost insignificant risk.
“Why would you engage in such sort of dystopian cruelty to children? To get marched off with a group of four staff from the speaker, scaring my little girl half to death,” he said.
In a statement Friday morning to The Daily Signal, Henry Connelly, communications director for Pelosi, said:
Children aren’t allowed on the House floor due to the pandemic. We continue to follow guidance from the Office of Attending Physician, which is enforced by chamber security officials from the Office of the House Sergeant at Arms.
Grace White, Schweikert’s communications director, told The Daily Signal in an email that the Arizona Republican’s office had not heard from the speaker or her staff about his remarks on the incident.
Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.
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