The “Tennessee Three,” the trio of state lawmakers punished for participating in gun protests, will visit the White House on Monday to meet with President Joe Biden.
The White House announced Wednesday that the president will meet with state Reps. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville and Justin Jones of Nashville and Rep. Justin Pearson of Memphis. The three were disciplined for violating their Statehouse decorum rules when they took part in a protest earlier this month seeking tighter gun laws. It followed the shooting deaths of three 9-year-old children and three school officials at a Nashville elementary school.
Jones and Pearson, who are Black, were expelled, but have since been reinstated to their seats by their respective local councils. Johnson, who is white and participated in the same demonstration, was not expelled.
“Earlier this month, the president spoke to them by phone after they were subjugated to expulsion votes in the Tennessee Statehouse for peacefully protesting in support of stronger gun safety laws following the shooting at Covenant School in Nashville. During that call, the president thanked them for their leadership in seeking to ban assault weapons and standing up for the democratic values,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.
“And the three lawmakers thanked the president for his leadership on gun safety and for spotlighting the undemocratic and unprecedented attacks on them in a Tennessee Statehouse.”
She added: “The president looks forward to continuing that discussion when they all meet with him on Monday.”
The three lawmakers captured national attention in the wake of the March 27 Nashville mass shooting, as the nation watched Tennessee Republicans’ unprecedented use of political power to expel two of the Democrats. National Democrats have rallied around the events, and the White House has seized on the opportunity to do the same — repeatedly weighing in on the events.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited Nashville almost two weeks ago, where she met privately with the three representatives and later spoke to a packed room full of students, less than 24 hours after Tennessee Republicans booted the two Black lawmakers from office.
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