Jayapal says GOP lawmaker’s behavior toward CBC chair was assault
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) accused Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) of assaulting her colleague, Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), who shared a public account of a tense interaction that occurred while the two were boarding a subway car on Capitol Hill’s internal system this week.
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Jayapal, the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told the network that what Rogers did was “absolutely” considered assault in her view, indicating that she took issue with both what he did and what he said.
Beatty, who chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, said she had politely asked Rogers to wear a mask as the two boarded a train on Tuesday, on the way to a House vote. Then, she said, things got heated.
“He then poked my back, demanding I get on the train,” Beatty wrote on Twitter. “When I asked him not to touch me, he responded, ‘kiss my ass.’ ”
Jayapal jumped to her Democratic colleague’s defense. Both Jayapal and Beatty are congresswomen of color.
“That was absolutely assault in my book, to poke somebody and push them on to the train and say what Rep. Hal Rogers said,” Jayapal said.
“This is where the lack of civility has come to in the United States Congress,” the Washington lawmaker continued. “And I think it is a massive problem, it undermines our ability to get work done, and it is intolerable in a workplace where we are going to work to do the work of the American people.”
Rogers apologized to Beatty.
To that, Jayapal remarked: “I’m letting Congresswoman Beatty decide what to do in this situation. She’s accepting his public apology, and that’s what we need to do in this case.”