Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) walked out on a moment of silence in Congress Monday for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Lieu, a second-term congressman from one of the wealthiest districts in the nation, filmed himself after he walked out of the House of Representatives chamber and broadcast to his followers on Facebook Live:
Good evening. I’m Congressman Ted Lieu. I’m heartbroken about the children and adults that were killed in the worst mass shooting in Texas history this Sunday.
My colleagues right now are doing a moment of silence in the House of Representatives chambers. I respect their right to do that, and I myself have participated in many of them.
But I can’t do this again. I’ve been to too many moments of silences [sic]. In just my short career in Congress, three of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history have occurred. I will not be silent.
What we need, is we need action. We need to pass gun safety legislation now. Behind me is the House of Representatives chambers. I urge us to pass reasonable gun safety legislation, including a universal background check law, supported by 80% of Americans, a ban on assault rifles, and a ban on bump stocks.
We need to do that. We cannot be silent. We need to act now. Now I gotta go back to vote. Thanks for watching.
(The gunman in Texas passed an FBI background check. He was ultimately stopped by a local gun owner using a rifle of his own. No reports have emerged of a bump stock being used.)
Comments on Lieu’s video ranged from supportive (Got an eye on you, Awesome Hombre!! We need more Congresspersons with integrity. Thanks for making California proud!!!!!! SF East Bay fan.”) to outraged (“This was extremely disrespectful to the families who are mourning loved ones in #SutherlandSpringsTexas, it is embarrassing to the #USA that a member of #Congress would behave in such a manner”).
Lieu has made a name for himself over the past year as a Twitter troll, tweeting insults against the president and members of his administration. A reserve officer in the U.S. Air Force, Lieu has also been accused by critics of violating military rules by referring to the president as illegitimate.
Last month, another Democrat, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), skipped a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.