President Biden on Tuesday hosted the “Tennessee Three” at the White House, telling the Democratic lawmakers that the Republican efforts to expel them from office were “undemocratic.”
Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, the two Tennessee lawmakers who were once expelled from the state’s legislature, and Rep. Gloria Johnson, who was subject to expulsion, sat in the Oval Office with the president and Vice President Harris to discuss their recent protest to call for gun control.
“What the Republican legislature did was shocking. It was undemocratic,” Biden said at the top of the meeting.
Jones and Pearson earlier this month were expelled from the legislature for their participation in gun violence demonstrations following the school shooting in Nashville, Tenn. They have since both have been reinstated. Johnson, who also participated in the protests, narrowly survived her expulsion vote.
“You’re standing up for our kids, you’re standing up for our communities,” Biden told the lawmakers.
The three of them led chants on the Tennessee House floor and the resolutions to expel them indicate they engaged in “disorderly behavior.” The expulsion of Jones and Pearson, both of whom are Black while Johnson is white, has fueled a nationwide debate over gun violence, race and the freedom to protest.
The president in the meeting also said there is “more to do” on curbing gun violence, while noting that he signed the most comprehensive gun control bill in decades. He renewed his calls for an assault weapons ban and other gun control measures after the Nashville shooting.