Ryan: GOP won't 'tolerate' another sit-in

Ryan: GOP won't 'tolerate' another sit-in
© Moriah Ratner

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE warned that Republicans “will not tolerate” it if Democrats launch another sit-in on the House floor after the Fourth of July recess to force a vote on gun control.

In a television interview in his home state of Wisconsin, Ryan would not say specifically how his party would react differently to another protest but signaled that there would be a swift response.


The Speaker called Democrats' 24-hour-plus occupation of the House floor last week "a low moment for the people's House," but Democrats who joined the protest have vowed to hold another sit-in next week until Republicans allow a vote on gun control following the June 12 Orlando massacre.  

“We are not going to handle it the same way,” Ryan said Sunday on WISN’s “UpFront with Mike Gousha.” "We will not take this. We will not tolerate this."

Democrats responded Monday by saying they won't tolerate GOP inaction. 

"The American people will not tolerate Speaker Ryan continuing to surrender the gavel to the National Rifle Association," said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

"It's time for Speaker Ryan to end the obstruction and allow a vote on bipartisan, commonsense gun legislation that will save lives."

In a separate radio interview that aired Monday, Ryan said Democrats had hoped to get arrested during last week’s protest. But Republicans, aware that putting civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other senior Democrats in handcuffs could cause the GOP political damage, decided to avoid a physical altercation and never called on the sergeant at arms to intervene.

“We got maybe an hour heads up. [Democrats] said they were hoping to get arrested and hauled off the floor. They told a number of my staff that,” Ryan told WGTD radio in Wisconsin.

The fact that Democrats were fundraising off their sit-in was “shameful,” Ryan said. And he’s repeatedly pointed out that Democrats were blatantly violating House rules by snapping photos of taking video of the nearly 26-hour protest from inside the chamber.

Some of Ryan’s GOP colleagues are now calling for a vote to censure Democrats who broke House rules, arguing that photographing and filming from all angles on the floor jeopardizes national security and the lives of members of Congress. Terrorists could study the images to help them prepare for a possible attack on the Capitol, they argue.

“There are safety and national security reasons that that is the rule,” said a lawmaker close to leadership. “And it is extraordinary that they ignored it.” 

Updated at 6:20 p.m.