MSNBC host Joe Scarborough ripped into Republican lawmakers who have been stopped from entering the chamber of the House of Representatives carrying firearms just two weeks after the violent storming of the US Capitol led to five deaths.
The former Republican congressman was incredulous in a segment of Friday’s edition of Morning Joe, exclaiming: “Really, the stupidity is just extraordinary.”
Mr Scarborough was reacting to a report that Republican lawmaker Andy Harris of Maryland was stopped by Capitol Police with a gun on his hip as he was entering the House to cast a vote.
He noted that a number of GOP representatives were unwilling to submit to screening by magnetometers and metal detector wands that have been installed at the entrance to the floor of the House since the attack on Congress on 6 January.
Said Mr Scarborough: “For this guy and for others to think they're going to be able to carry a gun onto the House floor when we have Republican members of Congress that have had fundraising letters that show pictures of AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] and other Democrats while the Republican is holding an AR-15, saying I'm coming to target these women or they better watch out, or something along those lines — who the hell would be comfortable with anybody having a gun on the House floor?”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrat representative for parts of Queens and the Bronx in New York City, and other members of “the Squad” of young progressive members of Congress, have in the past been depicted as targets by their colleagues in social media messages.
“There are Democrats who can say that they have had their life threatened or they have reason to believe that they are being targeted by somebody carrying an AR-15 and sending it around saying I'm coming to get these members of Congress,” the MSNBC host said. “So please, please, stop your whining, start getting wanded, and go in and just vote and shut up, you're not special!”
Representative Harris is now being investigated by Capitol Police.
Guns are not permitted on the House and Senate floors but can be carried on Capitol grounds, including office buildings, so long as they are not loaded, although bullets may be carried separately.
Representatives Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, and Rick Allen, apparently refused to be searched with a metal detector wand after setting off the magnetometers at the entrance to the chamber.