Calif Republicans outraged when GOP senator is forcibly removed from floor during emotional speech

A dramatic scene unfolded in the California Senate as a Republican senator was forcibly removed for speaking out against a former lawmaker.

Sen. Janet Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee, attempted to give a speech Thursday criticizing the late Democrat lawmaker Tom Hayden for his stand against the Vietnam War, according to The Sacramento Bee.  Hayden, an anti-war activist who traveled to North Vietnam with then-wife Jane Fonda in 1974, was memorialized by the Senate two days earlier.

Nguyen, who represent a large Vietnamese community in Orange County, was escorted from the chamber by the Senate sergeant-at-arms after being silenced by the Democratic majority, according to her Republican colleagues.

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“He sided with the communist government that enslaved and killed millions of Vietnamese, including my family,” Nguyen said.  “I wouldn’t be here today. I would be dead,” she added, if the U.S. had not supported South Vietnam.

She began her comments in Vietnamese during the adjourn-in-memory portion of the Senate floor session, the Bee reported. At this time, members can offer tributes to constituents who have recently died. Nguyen was cut off as she attempted to repeat her comments in English.

“Members, today I recognize in memory the millions of Vietnamese and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who died in seeking for freedom and democracy,” she said. “On Tuesday, you had an opportunity to honor Sen. Tom Hayden. With all due respect, I would like to offer this historical perspective …”

She was interrupted by presiding Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara who said she was out of order because she did not raise her objections two days earlier during the ceremony for Hayden. Nguyen continued to speak with Lara repeatedly telling her to sit down before ordering her removal.

“Sergeants, please remove Sen. Nguyen from the chamber,” Lara said. “Have her removed immediately. Sergeants, please remove Sen. Nguyen, she is out of order.”

Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller asked the Senate Rules Committee to investigate.

“I’m enraged at the violation to free speech, our Constitution and the precedent this sets,” she said. “Just last year we let one of our guests speak on the floor, a movie star that we had no protocol for doing so, and yet we’re shutting a member down. I am deeply disturbed.”

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Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León said he was “greatly unsettled (by) what took place on the floor” in a press conference later, according to the Bee.

GOP senators denounced the actions on social media, drawing a connection to an incident with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in which she was silenced after trying to read a letter on the Senate floor. The California Senate Republican Caucus tweeted a video of what happened with Nguyen adding the hashtag #ShePersisted.

Assembly Member Melissa Melendez and the College Republicans from California State University, Bakersfield tweeted in response.

Nguyen had opted not to make the comments during the memorial service, she said, out of respect for Hayden’s family members who were present. She had informed de León’s office that she planned to make a statement on Thursday but was directed to post something on her website or Facebook page instead.

There were plenty who backed Nguyen’s position and her right to make her statement, regardless of any Senate rules which she allegedly violated by speaking out of turn.

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