During a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) railed against a witness who testified against the Obama administration’s recent guidance for schools on how to accommodate transgender students.
Lofgren read aloud part of the testimony from Gail Heriot, a member of the United States Commission on Human Rights, according to a clip from the hearing highlighted by the Huffington Post.
“If I believe that I am a Russian princess, that doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy. Nor am I a Great Horned Owl just because — as I have been told — I happen to share some personality traits with those feathered creatures,” Heriot wrote in her testimony.
“I’ve got to say, I found this rather offensive,” Lofgren said, reacting to Heriot’s testimony. “And it says to me that the witness really doesn’t know anything and probably has never met a transgender child who is going through, in almost every case, a very difficult experience finding themselves.”
After noting her support for the guidelines from the Justice and Education departments, Lofgren said that “it’s very regrettable that that comment was put into the record, and I think it’s highly offensive.”
Heriot tried to jump in and defend her testimony, arguing that the administration’s guidance was “offensive.”
But Lofgren quickly cut Heriot off.
“I think you’re a bigot, lady. I think you are an ignorant bigot,” the congresswoman said.
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) told Lofgren she was “out of order,” but Lofgren insisted on finishing her remarks.
“Mr. Chairman, it is my time, and I would just like to say that we allow witnesses to say offensive things, but I cannot allow that kind of bigotry to go into the record unchallenged,” she said.
Heriot jumped in once more to ask, “Does that mean you think I am a Russian princess?”
“I have no idea,” Lofgren replied.
Heriot, a law professor at the University of San Diego, was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Human Rights 2007 after she was recommended by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). She was recommended by McConnell for another term in 2013 and was confirmed to serve on the Commission until 2019.
Watch the exchange via Lofgren’s office: