Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said Thursday that if it was up to him, the Democratic lawmakers who held a day-long sit-in on the House floor to push votes for gun control measures would be forcibly removed—and even arrested.
“The business of the House is more important than the antics that we see going on there, and if it were my chamber, it would be cleared and people would be arrested, if that’s what’s necessary to get us back to the task at hand,” the North Carolina lawmaker said on the Senate floor.
The protest, which prompted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to begin the body’s scheduled recess early, came to an end Thursday afternoon after 25 hours.
“Why people would use the pulpit of the House floor of the House chamber to advance their political agenda, to advance their fund-raising—go out to their political web sites and see how many of them have sent out an e-mail over the past week exploiting a political tragedy for their political purposes?” Tillis charged, shortly before the sit-in ended. “I think it is disgusting.”
The Republican senator said that the focus on tightening access to firearms was misguided and that Congress instead needed to focus on eradicating the threat of terrorist attacks.
“How long do we have to take before we recognize the fundamental threat to this nation is terror and ISIS spreading its tentacles into our own homeland?” Tillis said.
Other GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Ryan, spoke out against the sit-in. The House speaker called the protest a “publicity stunt” that threatened American Democracy.