At a Wednesday Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) requested an amendment to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of each hearing. His simple suggestion was harshly opposed by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) who were angered by the mere suggestion of saying the Pledge of Allegiance more than once a day.

Prior to the meeting, Gaetz brought in Staff Sergeant Corey Beekman to lead the committee in the Pledge of Allegiance. Gaetz then offered up a new amendment to the committee for their consideration.

“[…]Our Pledge of Allegiance is a national symbol of pride and unity,” Gaetz said. “My amendment gives the committee the opportunity to begin each of its meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance, it gives our members the ability to invite inspirational constituents to be able to share and lead in the Pledge of Allegiance.”

“I offered this amendment to the judiciary rules two years ago and it was defeated, and I’m very optimistic that we will have a different outcome today,” Gaetz added.

Nadler spoke out against this amendment, saying “I would oppose it simply on the grounds that, as members know, we pledge allegiance every day on the floor and, uh, I don’t know why we should pledge allegiance twice in the same day to show how patriotic we are.”

Rep. Cicilline also weighed in on the amendment, criticizing Gaetz for his suggestion as well and not-so-subtly accusing him of being an insurrectionist.

“I’d like to offer an amendment to the amendment, adding in the second paragraph where the Chari may designate an individual to lead the Pledge of Allegiance to add the following language: ‘Provided, however, the Pledge shall not be led by an individual who supported an insurrection against the government of the United States in any way.”

Gaetz shot back, saying, “Mr. Cicilline, my concern would be if your definition of an insurrection is objecting to electors, then there would be many Democrats on the committee that wouldn’t be eligible to lead the pledge.”

Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Texas) spoke out in support of Gaetz’s amendment, presenting a powerful argument for why the amendment should be accepted and condemning those who were fighting so strongly against it.

“The fact that we’re having a political conversation about this is actually wrong,” said Hunt, a West Point graduate and veteran. “The only thing that we want to do is the best – those brave men and women that are willing to give their lives in a sacrifice for us to be able to convene today in a room like this.”

“For us to sit here together and to offer just a little bit of homage to those that are willing to do that, I think it’s not – it’s not nothing we shouldn’t be doing, it’s actually necessary,” Hunt added. “You see, that flag represents the deaths of thousands of men and women… And every day that I get up, I look at that flag and I thank God that we are here.”

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