Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz introduced an amendment proposing each meeting of the House Judiciary Committee begin with the Pledge of Allegiance in what many are calling performative patriotism.
Gaetz proclaimed his rrulechange would give members “the ability to invite inspirational constituents” to share and lead in the pledge.
But New York Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler pointed out House members already recite the pledge on the floor every day.
"I don’t know why we should pledge allegiance twice in the same day to show how patriotic we are."
Georgia Democratic Representative Hank Johnson then questioned the appropriateness of Republicans who supported or even incited the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot reciting a Pledge of Allegiance to the United States.
Johnson noted many Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election.
Rhode Island Democratic Representative David Cicilline proposed an “amendment to the amendment” from the self-described patriot from Florida.
"This pledge is an affirmation of your defense of democracy and the Constitution."
"It’s hard to take that claim seriously if in fact, an individual in any way supported an insurrection against the government."
You can see an excerpt of Cicilline's comments here:
Gaetz countered—with a variation on "I know you are but what am I"—saying:
"I’m concerned that you may be disqualifying too many of your own members."
But Cicilline was prepared for Gaetz's response.
The Rhode Island Democrat replied:
"I’m talking about elected officials who swear an oath to the Constitution of the United States, who in any way participated, supported, facilitated, encouraged the insurrection against the United States."
"That’s not too hard a standard."
The debate lasted nearly an hour.
People concurred with Cicilline's proposed amendment barring insurrectionists in Congress from leading the Pledge of Allegiance to earn performative patriotism points.
Many took issue with time they viewed as wasted by Gaetz's proposed "patriotic" rule change.
They also questioned why Republicans wouldn't support a ban on insurrectionists leading a pledge they violated unless they knew they were insurrectionists.
Cicilline's amendment was defeated—by a vote of 24-13—in the Republican controlled committee.
Gaetz's amendment passed unanimously, 39-0.
Ultimately, no one was opposed to reciting the pledge.
Democrats merely objected to its use as a cheap political ploy by people who didn't support what it represented through their words and deeds.