Republicans shake their heads, doze off, and live-tweet during Biden’s first joint address to Congress

rep lauren boebert
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) during U.S. President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol on April 28, 2021.

  • Many Republicans seemed unmoved during Biden’s joint address to Congress on Wednesday.
  • Rep. Lauren Boebert live-tweeted criticism of Biden during the speech.
  • Cameras caught Sen. Ted Cruz dozing off while Biden addressed immigration reform.
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Several Republican lawmakers appeared impassive and even displeased throughout most of President Joe Biden’s first joint address to Congress on Wednesday night.

Freshman firebrand Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado live-tweeted criticism of Biden while he spoke about his administration’s agenda, covering items such as the economy, health care, and the criminal justice system.

“I miss President Trump,” Boebert tweeted shortly into Biden’s address. About halfway through the speech, Boebert pulled out a space blanket and draped it over her lap, according to reporters in the chamber.

“The Biden regime is an existential crisis,” she tweeted toward the end of the night.

When Biden touched on the economy, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio looked visibly troubled and began shaking his head vigorously, PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins observed.

Cameras in the House chamber showed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas appearing to struggle to stay awake as Biden discussed immigration reform. Cruz put out a statement summing up his feelings after the speech concluded, calling it “boring, but radical.”

As Biden addressed issues including clean water, job creation, and child poverty, many Republicans, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, remained stone-faced.

Once Biden wrapped up, McCarthy plainly said: “This whole thing could have just been an email.”

Republicans piled on the attacks on Twitter, labeling Biden’s speech “pathetic,” accusing him of “virtue-signaling,” and calling out Democrats for violating COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing.

Only around 200 people were allowed in the House chamber for Wednesday’s address, as the event was scaled back due to coronavirus restrictions.

During his speech, Biden highlighted his infrastructure proposal, called on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and outlined parts of his $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, which would invest in child care and education.

Democrats repeatedly rose from their seats and applauded the president as he spoke, while Republicans largely remained seated with their hands in their laps.

However, there were some bipartisan moments of the evening. When Biden briefly acknowledged first lady Jill Biden teaching as a community college professor, she received a standing ovation from Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Boebert was the only person who did not clap, according to the Capitol Hill pool.

Several GOP lawmakers also applauded after Biden encouraged Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina offered the GOP’s response to Biden’s address on Wednesday night.

“Our president seems like a good man. His speech was full of good words,” Scott said. “But three months in, the actions of the president and his party are pulling us further and further apart.”

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‘Did I strike a nerve?’: Reps. Val Demings and Jim Jordan get into a heated screaming match over policing

Val Demings
Rep. Val Demings gestures as she shouts at Rep. Jim Jordan during a committee debate.

  • Reps. Val Demings and Jim Jordan engaged in a heated shouting match over policing.
  • The argument came hours before a jury convicted Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
  • Demings accused Republicans of backing law enforcement when it’s “politically convenient” and added, “What, did I strike a nerve?”
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Democratic Rep. Val Demings and Republican Rep. Jim Jordan got into a shouting match about policing in the US on Tuesday, just hours before a jury convicted the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

The argument came during a committee debate over the bipartisan COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which would direct the Department of Justice to expedite the review of coronavirus-related hate crimes and improve public reporting on hate crimes during the pandemic.

Demings had the floor and was criticizing Republicans over an amendment they introduced aimed at preventing efforts to defund the police, a platform supported by many progressive activists and lawmakers.

“I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years,” the Democratic lawmaker said. “It is a tough job, and good police officers deserve your support.”

She then accused Republicans of supporting police officers “when it’s politically convenient to do so,” adding, “Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day. They deserve better.”

“The American people deserve better,” Demings went on, before Jordan appeared to interrupt her. “I have the floor, Mr. Jordan,” Demings said as she spoke over the Ohio congressman. “What, did I strike a nerve?”

At that point, the committee’s chairman, Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, banged his gavel and repeatedly called for Demings to suspend her speaking because she was over her time.

“Law enforcement officers deserve better than to be utilized as pawns,” Demings went on, even as Nadler continued banging the gavel. “You and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves!”

Nadler then admonished Jordan, saying members “must not interrupt someone who has the time.” He went on to say that Jordan “simply can’t shout out” because he disagrees with another lawmaker, to which Jordan replied, “I agree.”

Demings then told Jordan he didn’t know “what in the heck you’re talking about.” She added: “You know nothing about what law enforcement officers do, and you’re using them as pawns because it serves your ridiculous political purposes.”

“I know about my motive,” Jordan shot back.

“Everyone will suspend,” Nadler said as Demings spoke over Jordan. “I am making the point: no one may shout out when someone else has the time.”

Jordan then appeared to suggest that Nadler was singling out Republican lawmakers and said Democrats had also interrupted other members while they were speaking.

“When you give a speech, Mr. Chairman, about motives and questioning motives, when our motives are questioned, how do we address that?” Jordan said.

“This is emotionally charged,” Demings said, adding, “I have watched them live and die and you know nothing about that. And to use them as political pawns pisses me off.”

The Democratic lawmaker also pointed out that she saw little Republican support for police officers on January 6, during the deadly Capitol insurrection after which five people died and multiple Capitol Police officers were injured.

Those officers “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,” Demings continued, referring to former President Donald Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories about election-rigging and voter fraud.

Watch the exchange below:

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‘No personal liberties were taken away’: Joe Scarborough blasts Jim Jordan for spreading ‘lies’ about Fauci

GettyImages jim jordan
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

  • Joe Scarborough blasted Rep. Jim Jordan for his conduct while questioning Fauci during a hearing.
  • “When do Americans get their freedom back?” Jordan aggressively asked of Fauci.
  • “It’s so personal and it is personal,” Scarborough said. “They have lied about Dr. Fauci.
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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Friday slammed GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio for peddling “lies” about Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, during a congressional hearing on the COVID-19 pandemic.

During an episode of “Morning Joe,” Scarborough was disturbed by Jordan’s behavior, where the congressman repeatedly questioned when the country would fully reopen and said it was “obvious” that Fauci didn’t see coronavirus-related health restrictions as an “assault” on the liberties of Americans.

The testy back-and-forth exchange between Jordan and Fauci resulted in Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California telling Jordan to “shut your mouth” after the congressman’s time had expired and he attempted to continue questioning Fauci.

Scarborough expressed displeasure with Jordan, along with individuals who have minimized the severity of the coronavirus.

“It’s so personal and it is personal,” he said. “They have lied about Dr. Fauci. They have spread conspiracy theories about Dr. Fauci. They have said the most preposterous things.”

He added: “They’re trying to attack the messenger … while they’ve been lying through their teeth to the American people, who has been warning that a lot of people could die. A year ago, they kept saying, ‘Open things up, everything’s fine, what is this? No worse than the flu.’ No worse – over 550,000 people are dead. And the lies continue. The scapegoating still continues.”

Read more: Visa’s PAC gave politicians $139,000 in March after vowing to pause contributions because of the Capitol insurrection

Scarborough, a former GOP congressman who represented a deeply conservative district in the Florida Panhandle, refuted Jordan’s claims that individual freedoms have been threatened since the start of the pandemic last year.

“No personal liberties were taken away,” he said. “The Supreme Court has reviewed the cases. The courts have reviewed cases. It’s sheer idiocy playing for the lowest common denominator.”

Scarborough then lamented that “lies” and “conspiracy theories” about Fauci “have always gotten clicks.”

“You have to be a moron to believe it, but there are, I guess, a lot of morons out there,” he said. “Jim Jordan peddles the suggestion that Anthony Fauci somehow is the problem instead of a coronavirus that’s spread across America and killed 550,000 people.”

During the House Oversight and Reform hearing on Thursday, Jordan repeatedly asked Fauci for a set timeline on when people could resume their normal lives, seemingly ignoring the complexities of the virus, including new variants that have spread throughout the country this year.

“When do Americans get their freedom back?” Jordan asked Fauci. “We had 15 days to slow the spread … turned into a year of lost liberties.”

“You’re indicating liberty and freedom,” Fauci responded. “I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to hospital.”

Since the pandemic began in the US, nearly 32 million people have been infected and over 566,000 people have died, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner calls fellow Republican Jim Jordan a ‘political terrorist’

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: Former House Speaker John Boehner stands for the pledge of allegiance during a ceremony to unveil a portrait in his honor in the U.S. Capitol on November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. Boehner served as the 53rd speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) stands for the Pledge of Allegiance during a ceremony to unveil a portrait in his honor at the US Capitol on November 19, 2019.

  • Boehner described several fellow Republicans as “political terrorists,” including Rep. Jim Jordan.
  • “I never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart ― never building anything,” he said.
  • In his book, Boehner seemed relieved that he didn’t have to interact with Trump while in office.
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Former GOP House Speaker John Boehner in an upcoming CBS interview scorches several members of his own party for being “political terrorists,” including fellow Ohioan and Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.

During an episode of “CBS Sunday Morning” set to air this weekend, Boehner criticized what he describes as an outgrowth of political opportunism that led to the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Boehner, who represented Ohio’s 8th congressional district from 1991 to 2015 and served as House speaker from 2011 to 2015, is promoting his new memoir, “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” which is set to be released on April 13.

When asked by reporter John Dickerson who would fall under his definition of a political terrorist, Jordan’s name immediately sprang up.

“Jim Jordan especially, my colleague from Ohio,” he replied. “I just never saw a guy who spent more time tearing things apart ― never building anything, never putting anything together.”

Jordan, who was first elected to Congress in 2006, has become well-known for his verbal jousting with Democrats on both the Oversight and Judiciary Committees, along with his staunch defense of former President Donald Trump.

Read more: Introducing Todd Young, the most important senator you’ve never heard of

In the same interview, Boehner went after GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, whom he calls a “jerk” and describes as an attention seeker.

“Perfect symbol, you know, of getting elected, making a lot of noise, draw a lot of attention to yourself, raise a lot of money, which means you’re gonna go make more noise, raise more money – it’s really unfortunate,” he said.

Cruz was roundly criticized by many for challenging the 2020 election results after the Capitol riot, even by moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and faced calls for his resignation.

When the subject turned to Trump, who was impeached by the House for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the riot but acquitted by the Senate, Boehner wouldn’t describe Trump as a political terrorist.

“I’m not in office anymore,” he said. “I don’t have to answer all the questions that I used to have to answer, right? And while it isn’t my style, I don’t wanna use a pejorative term like that ― talking about him or anybody else.”

Boehner, who left office a year before Trump was elected, seemed to relish that he didn’t have to deal with the former president as an elected official.

“That was fine by me because I’m not sure I belonged to the Republican Party he created,” Boehner said in his memoir.

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GOP lawmakers cite ‘Free Britney’ movement to request a congressional hearing on court-mandated conservatorships

Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, left, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, right.

  • Two GOP congressmen requested a congressional hearing on court-mandated conservatorships.
  • Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz cited the “Free Britney” movement in a letter on Tuesday.
  • Spears’ circumstances suggest “questionable motives and legal tactics” by her father, they said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Two Republican congressmen on the House Judiciary Committee asked the panel’s Democratic chairman, Rep. Jerry Nadler, to hold a hearing on court-ordered conservatorships, citing the “Free Britney” movement.

The movement refers to the singer Britney Spears, who was the subject of The New York Times documentary, “Framing Britney Spears.” The film is streamed on Hulu and examines the pop star’s 13-year fight for control of her estate after a court placed her under a conservatorship, essentially stripping her of the right to her own fortune and placing it in Spears’ father’s control.

“In recent years, there has been growing public concern about the use of conservatorships to effectively deprive individuals of personal freedoms at the behest of others through the manipulation of the courts,” the letter from Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz said. “A project funded by the US Department of Justice to examine conservator exploitation found that ‘financial exploitation by conservators often goes unchecked by courts’ and there is a ‘dire need for guardianship/conservatorship reform.'”

The letter went on to note that the American Civil Liberties Union recently said conservatorships “should be viewed with skepticism and used as a last resort,” but that in most cases, they’re imposed “routinely and without substantive engagement.”

The practice paves the way for individuals to be “stripped of virtually all of their civil rights through guardianships and conservatorships,” the ACLU said, and reforms should be implemented so these individuals can “direct their own lives.”

“The most striking example is perhaps the case of multi-platinum performing artist Britney Spears,” Jordan and Gaetz’s letter said, adding that “since 2008, Ms. Spears has been under a court-ordered conservatorship.”

“The facts and circumstances giving rise to this arrangement remain in dispute but involve questionable motives and legal tactics by her father and now-conservator, Jamie Spears,” it continued. The letter also cited Daniel Gross, a Long Island resident who was involuntarily placed under a conservatorship and kept in a nursing home for 10 months before being released in 2006.

“In what the judge labeled as ‘a terrible miscarriage of justice,’ Mr. Gross was locked in a Connecticut nursing home for 10 months despite his pleas for release,” Jordan and Gaetz’s letter said. “Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements, it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships.”

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