Republican Leaders Demand Mayor Bowser Explain Failure to Protect Peaceful Protestors with Diverging Viewpoints

Published: Nov 19, 2020

Call on Chairwoman Maloney to Hold Hearing on D.C. Violence

WASHINGTON—House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Ranking Member Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Johnson (R-La.) today wrote to Mayor Muriel Bowser regarding the District of Columbia’s failure to protect Trump supporters, while they peacefully organized in Washington, D.C, from being attacked and harassed by left-wing agitators. The congressmen are urgently calling for the mayor to clarify the city’s approach to First Amendment activities to ensure the safety of all who peacefully exercise their rights.

“The right to peaceably assemble in our nation’s capital under the First Amendment is paramount. This is true regardless of who is doing the protesting or the popularity or unpopularity of their cause. You claim Washington, D.C. ‘upholds the values of love, inclusivity, and diversity’ but your silence following the violence perpetrated against Americans who support President Trump suggests you apply these principles only for those who share your same political opinions. This is a dangerous precedent,” wrote the Republican leaders to Mayor Bowser. “. . . It is essential that any group exercising their right to peaceably assemble—no matter their viewpoints—is afforded basic protections against violence. It is also essential that the District strive to ensure the safety of nonparticipants, as well as to protect property within the District. Although these are basic and fundamental expectations, the District’s leaders have consistently failed to meet them.”

Republican members of the Oversight Committee—Ranking Member Comer, Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.), and Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Ranking Member Chip Roy (R-Texas)—today also wrote Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) calling for a hearing on the violence in D.C. In the letter to the chairwoman, the congressmen demanded the hearing occur before the end of the 116th Congress.

They wrote, “The failure of the city’s leaders to afford basic protections to persons who may hold different political viewpoints from their own appears to be another concerning example of viewpoint discrimination in the District. . . . Our Committee must conduct oversight to determine whether the District of Columbia has a plan to ensure that violence is not tolerated against those who come to our nation’s capital in the future to exercise their First Amendment rights. We therefore request that the Committee hold a hearing on this important matter before the end of the 116th Congress.”

The full letter to Mayor Bowser is available here, and the full letter to Chairwoman Maloney is available here.