House Republicans are refusing to follow new safety rules at the Capitol and go through metal detectors after a deadly riot threatened their lives just one week ago.
Lawmakers made their way into the chamber Tuesday night to vote on whether to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office after he incited a mob of his supporters to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to overturn the election results.
As part of new safety precautions in response to the insurrection, lawmakers must now walk through metal detectors to enter the chamber and vote. But many Republican members of Congress threw a fit at the idea of going through the same security check that everyone else does when entering the Capitol.
As HuffPost’s Matt Fuller reported, about 10 Republicans walked around the metal detectors as a group ― including Reps. Ralph Norman (S.C.) and Scott Perry (Pa.), while Rep. Jeff Duncan (S.C.) bypassed the metal detector right before the group did. Capitol Police guarding the door to the House floor appeared confused about what they should do, according to Fuller.
Capitol Police are technically not allowed to stop or detain members of Congress on their way to a vote, according to the Constitution. Under the Speech or Debate Clause, members of the House and the Senate cannot be arrested while at a session of their respective chamber, or while going to and from the same chamber. The only exceptions are if they’re committing treason, felony or breach of the peace.
A group of lawmakers then formed at the metal detectors outside the floor, consistently setting the machines off and needing to be inspected by Capitol Police. Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) yelled that he was “physically restrained” from entering the floor, while Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) told police that he believes the metal detectors are unconstitutional.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who has bragged before about wanting to carry a firearm at the Capitol, was in a standoff with Capitol Police over her bag setting off the metal detector, according to CNN’s Ryan Nobles. Boebert refused let Capitol Police search her bag even when they told her she could not be let onto the House floor until she did so. She was eventually let into the chamber, but Nobles could not confirm if Capitol Police ended up searching her bag beforehand.
Republicans became increasingly emboldened in defying the security measures, with one lawmaker setting off the metal detector and marching right into the chamber without stopping to get inspected by police, who didn’t stop him. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) walked around the detector while telling police, “You can’t stop me; I’m on my way to a vote.”
Rep. Russ Fulcher (R-Idaho) pushed his way past a police officer after setting off the metal detector. Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) snuck past the metal detector and pushed through officers and another lawmaker. As lawmakers continued to file into the chamber, the number of Republicans who decided to test the police grew ― just six days after Capitol Police were overrun and one of them was killed.
Metal detectors are often used in schools, airports and for members of the public visiting the Capitol. They are meant to keep members of Congress safe, particularly ahead of Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration next week. But with dozens of Republicans outright ignoring the new security measures, they won’t protect anyone.
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