President Joe Biden on Thursday night chastised the expulsion of two Tennessee state lawmakers as “shocking, undemocratic and without precedent,” accusing the Republicans of silencing those they disagree with.

Biden made the comment hours after Tennessee Republican lawmakers voted Thursday to remove Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson of Nashville and Memphis, respectively, over their participation in an anti-gun protest at the state Capitol last week.

It was the first time legislators who have not been charged with a crime were removed from office in the state. A third Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Gloria Johnson, survived the vote by one ballot.

“Last week, three more students and three school officials were gunned down in yet another tragic mass shooting in Nashville. On Monday, 7,000 Tennesseans, many of them students, marched to their state capitol to call on their lawmakers to take action and keep them safe,” Biden said in a statement.

“Instead, state Republican lawmakers called votes today to expel three Democratic legislators who stood in solidarity with students and families and helped lift their voices. Today’s expulsion of lawmakers who engaged in peaceful protest is shocking, undemocratic and without precedent.

“Rather than debating the merits of the issue, these Republican lawmakers have chose to punish, silence and expel duly elected representatives of the people of Tennessee.”

The vote was held Thursday accusing the three lawmakers of breaking House rules last week by joining anti-gun protesters on the House floor demanding firearm restrictions in the wake of a school shooting in Nashville that left six people, including three students dead. The shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, was killed on site by police.

“A strong majority of Americans want lawmakers to act on commonsense gun safety reforms that we know will save lives,” Biden said. “But instead, we’ve continued to see Republican officials across American double down on dangerous bills that make our schools, places of worship and communities less safe. Our kids continue to pay the price.

“Congress much ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, require safe storage of firearms, eliminate gun manufacturer’s immunity from liability and require background checks for all gun sales, and state officials must do the same.”


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