Republican lawmakers sided with the Democrats in a decision to expel a GOP legislator from the House of Representatives for allowing protesters into the Oregon state Capitol on December 21, 2020.
In the midst of the COVID pandemic, when Oregon lawmakers were refusing to allow the public into the state Capitol building to prevent the spread of the virus, state Representative Mike Nearman allowed a group of so-called “far-right protesters” into the building.
According to reporting by The Associated Press, “Some were carrying guns. Some shouted false QAnon conspiracy theories about Democrats kidnapping babies. They carried American flags, banners for former President Donald Trump and a sign calling for the arrest of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. They broke windows and assaulted journalists.”
Of course, this is one of the very few incidents where the right actually rioted, as compared with the left who has rioted nearly every day for the past year. Yet, only conservatives are being held accountable for encouraging these actions by members of their own party.
Every GOP legislator in the Oregon House of Representatives chose to side with the Democrats in expelling Nearman in a vote of 59-1, with Nearman being the only one voting against his expulsion.
Democrat state Representative Paul Holvey, the chair of the committee that unanimously recommended the expulsion of the GOP legislator, spoke about the events of December 21.
“On the morning of Dec. 21st, a couple hundred protesters — some of them heavily armed and wearing body armor — arrived at the Capitol for a protest, with the intent to illegally enter and presumably occupy the building and interrupt the proceedings of the Oregon Legislature,” Holvey said. “Staff and legislators were terrified. We can only speculate what would have happened if they were able to get all the way in.”
“It’s impossible to overstate the seriousness of the reason we are here today,” Holvey said during the committee hearing. “Rep. Nearman enabled armed, violent protesters to enter the Capitol, breaching the security of the Capitol, which was officially closed to the public, and also endangered the authorized staff and legislators inside the building.”
Even Republicans in the state are speaking out against Nearman. “Nobody should have opened the door to the people who were here that day,” said GOP state Representative Daniel Bonham.
Nearman is unapologetic about his actions. His reasoning, according to the Associated Press, was that he “let the protesters in because he believes the Capitol, which has been closed to the public to protect against spread of the coronavirus, should have been open.”
During the expulsion vote, a few dozen protesters gathered outside of the state Capitol waving American flags. One carried a sign stating “I am Mike Nearman,” while another allegedly repeatedly kicked a metal door, which sent loud booms through the marble hallway of the building.