Oregon lawmakers kicked one of their colleagues out of office for the first time in state history Thursday night, voting 59-1 to oust Rep. Mike Nearman for his role in helping a far-right crowd to walk through the state capitol in December.
Mr Nearman, who was the only one voting against, had come under increasing pressure from his fellow Republicans to step down this week, days after a new video apparently showed him in the process of resigning. to train people on how they might enter the closed Capitol. Previous security footage had shown how Mr Nearman exited the building where the protesters had gathered, allowing them to enter and triggering a confrontation with law enforcement.
Mr Nearman, who faces misdemeanor charges for his actions, said Thursday that legislative leaders should never have excluded the public from Capitol Hill – a move that was a precaution against coronaviruses. But Democrats said Mr Nearman had shown complete disregard for the rule of law and the principles of democracy.
“His actions were blatant and deliberate, and he showed no remorse for endangering the safety of everyone on Capitol Hill that day,” President Tina Kotek, a Democrat, said in a statement after the vote.
The case bore striking similarities to the siege of the U.S. Capitol which took place a few weeks later. Although the crowd in Salem was smaller, it was filled with Trump supporters waving flags, far-right agitators wearing bulletproof vests and people chanting for punishment: “Stop Kate Brown,” said they shouted, referring to the Democratic governor of Oregon.
But as Congressional Republicans have resisted major actions during the siege on Capitol Hill – recently rejecting a proposed independent commission – Oregon GOP lawmakers have rallied in recent days around the idea that Mr. Nearman had to leave. Each of his colleagues this week joined a letter calling for his resignation.
Republican House leader Christine Drazan said Mr Nearman indiscriminately allowed violent protesters to enter the building. Representative Bill Post, a Republican who said he was one of Mr Nearman’s closest colleagues, wrote a message explaining that Mr Nearman had lied to him personally and other fellow Republican people to find out s ‘There was evidence that the door had been planned to open.
“This plan endangered lawmakers, staff and police inside the building,” wrote Mr. Post.
In the video that surfaced last week, apparently released online in the days leading up to the December 21 violation, Mr Nearman timidly repeats his own cell phone number, suggesting that anyone trying to enter the Capitol might be able to him. to send a SMS.
“These are just random numbers that I threw up. It’s not just everyone’s real cell phone, ”Mr. Nearman said in the footage. “And if you say, ‘I’m at the west entrance’ during the session and text that number over there, somebody might come out that door while you’re standing there.” But I don’t know. “