California State Senator Janet Nguyen, a Vietnamese immigrant, was silenced and physically removed from the legislative chamber in Sacramento on Thursday after attempting to voice criticism of the late Tom Hayden.
Nguyen, a Republican who represents the 34th district in the Orange County area, is the first Vietnamese-American state senator in the U.S. and the country’s first Vietnamese-American woman state legislator.
Jane Fonda’s ex-husband, a former state senator, and anti-Vietnam war activist, Hayden passed away in October. According to Sen. Nguyen, she was attempting to provide a different historical perspective than what was presented two days earlier during a senate memorial for Hayden.
Nguyen added that she withheld making any comments on Tuesday out of respect for the Hayden family. “Nguyen attempted to make her comments during the adjourn-in-memory portion of the Senate floor session, when members typically offer tributes to constituents who have recently died,” the Sacramento Bee noted. The senator prefaced her remarks that were short-circuited by remembering hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees who tragically perished in the quest for freedom.
Sen. Nguyen, 40, and her family became refugee boat people when they fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon when the communists took control of the entire country as U.S. forces withdrew. They later resettled in California. Approximately 500,000 Vietnamese Americans reside in the Golden State.
Beginning her speech in Vietnamese, the senator who was born in Saigon switched to English after which Democrats raised objections as shown in the video embedded below. The Democrat-controlled chamber then interrupted her and cut off her microphone, and security escorted her out in an encounter that might perhaps remind some of the final courtroom scene in the Al Pacino movie And Justice for All.
Democrat lawmakers claimed that she was out of order and her remarks were inappropriate because Nguyen had violated certain parliamentary rules governing the state senate, CBS News reported.
Nguyen claims that she notified the leadership in advance that she intended to speak out about Hayden, L.A. West noted.
On her website, Sen. Nguyen posted the speech that she attempted to deliver before being removed.
“I and the children of the former South Vietnam soldiers will never forget the support of former Senator Tom Hayden for the Communist government of Vietnam and the oppression by the Communist Government of Vietnam for the people of Vietnam…As you may be aware, Tom Hayden chose to work directly with the Communist North Vietnamese Government to oppose the efforts of United States forces in South Vietnam. Mr. Hayden sided with a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family. Mr. Hayden’s actions are viewed by many as harmful to democratic values and hateful towards those who sought the very freedoms on which this nation is founded…”
Nguyen also took to Twitter to protest what she described as a violation of her First Amendment freedom-of-speech rights.
Extremely grateful for the support for my #1stAmendment right to speak for the memory of those who fled persecution after the Vietnam War.
— Senator Janet Nguyen (@SenJanetNguyen) February 23, 2017
I refuse to be silenced or have my #FreedomofSpeech infringed when speaking out for those who are victims of tyrannical regimes!
— Senator Janet Nguyen (@SenJanetNguyen) February 24, 2017
The Republican Party of California collectively also expressed outrage about how the senator was forcibly expelled from the senate chamber.
— CA Senate GOP Caucus (@SenateRepCaucus) February 23, 2017
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat, subsequently announced that his office would conduct a review of the incident and that removing Sen. Nguyen while she was trying to speak should have been done as a last resort, the San Jose Mercury News detailed.
Reacting to this incident, the Gateway Pundit website wondered about a possible double standard in connection with the coverage or lack thereof.
“Will the mainstream media make Republican California state Senator Janet Nguyen a star like they did with Democrat Texas state Senator Wendy Davis or Democrat U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for speaking truth to power as those liberal woman politicians were lionized by the media?”
[Featured Image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]