At a rally convened to show support for Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), the California State Senator who was dragged unceremoniously off the Senate floor two weeks ago for supposedly speaking out of turn, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) was booed as he used the opportunity to take another swipe at her instead of apologizing.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a large crowd showed up to the State Capitol in a strong show of support for Nguyen by California’s Vietnamese-American community on Monday, following a huge rally in her home district this weekend.
The Times reported that the lcrowd numbered in the hundreds, including supporters who had traveled from Orange County, San Jose and the Bay Area. Everywhere she went, the rising Republican star was surrounded by admirers who wanted to take a picture with her.
“This is our time to shine,” the Times reported Nguyen telling the crowd on Monday, as she was flanked by fellow GOP lawmakers and leaders of Vietnamese American community groups and Vietnam War veterans. “Free speech needs to be protected everywhere in the United States.”
Nguyen was removed last month after she attempted to express her opinion of anti-Vietnam War activist and Democratic legislator Tom Hayden, who passed away recently.
In her comments, before she was dragged off the floor by the sergeants-at-arms, Nguyen expressed the enduring frustration within the Vietnamese-American and Vietnam veteran communities over Hayden’s anti-war stance.
That has put De León in the hot seat, as a three-person panel of Senate staffers has been appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding Nguyen’s removal. Senate Minority Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) has requested that those involved be made to testify under oath in a public hearings on the matter, but she admitted that as of Monday, she hadn’t heard back from De León.
When De León took the podium, the Times reports that he was “greeted with jeers.”
De Léon tried to explain to the boisterous crowd that Nguyen had violated the rules of the house, but that was not well received — even when he reiterated his promise made last week “to take full responsibility” for the incident.
According to the Times. “…when a Nguyen supporter asked specifically for an apology, De León responded, “I’ll apologize. Where is she?”
When someone informed him that Nguyen had already left the rally, he couldn’t resist firing a parting shot.
“I think she enjoyed the 15 minutes of fame,” he later told reporters. “And she doesn’t want it to disappear, obviously.”
So much for the apology.