President Biden invited the “Tennessee Three” to the White House on Friday.
The administration said in a statement that he had praised the three state lawmakers for “seeking to ban assault weapons and standing up for our democratic values.”
A social media post showed the president video-chatting with Democrats Justin Pearson, 28, Justin Jones, 27, and 60-year-old Gloria Johnson.
“Earlier today, I spoke to Reps. Jones, Pearson, and Johnson to thank them for their leadership and courage in the face of a blatant disregard of our nation’s democratic values. Our country needs to take action on gun violence — and to do that we need more voices like theirs speaking out,” Biden said in a caption.
Jones and Pearson were ousted by the Republican-controlled state House for their role in a protest calling for gun control after a March 27 school shooting in Nashville took the lives of children and employees.
Johnson, who joined in the demonstration, avoided expulsion by a single vote.
The White House has lambasted Tennessee Republicans for their actions, calling them “shocking, undemocratic and without precedent.”
“Rather than debating the merits of the issue, these Republican lawmakers have chosen to punish, silence, and expel duly-elected representatives of the people of Tennessee,” it said in an April 6 statement, saying that kids are continuing to pay the price for Republicans officials’ obstinance.
Also on Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris flew to Nashville, calling for stricter firearm laws, including background checks, red flag laws and restrictions on assault rifles.
“Let’s not fall for the false choice — either you’re in favor of the Second Amendment or you want reasonable gun safety laws,” Harris told a crowd at the city’s historically Black Fisk University. “We can and should do both.”
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