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Resolution during TN special session to condemn neo-nazis draws rebuke

Rep gets standing ovation for heated comments
Posted at 1:54 PM, Aug 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-23 15:20:32-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — In a historic day of changing leadership and renewed calls to oust one of its own members, one of the most heated moments in the Friday special session happened on what was supposed to be a footnote: a resolution condemning white supremacy.

John Ray Clemmons (D-Nashville) has attempted to get such a resolution passed since 2018. During the 2019 session, a resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was passed that included a denouncement of "racism of all types." That resolution was filed by Sumner County Republican William Lamberth.

When Clemmons called for a vote on the resolution it was rebuffed on procedural grounds. That's when Lamberth went after Clemmons:

"Just because he doesn't like what the rules are doesn't mean we get to change the Constitution here on the floor," said Rep. Lamberth.

Rep. Clemmons, whose resolution targeted white nationalists particularly, said that, according to counsel, the racism language of the MLK resolution didn't cover antisemitism.

"If I needed counsel I would hire a counselor," Lamberth shot back. "Very clearly and unequivocally during the session we all stood against all hate groups. We didn't just pick some and say we stand against them and say we're okay with all the rest as you have in your resolutions sir. So whenever you want to join this body and stand against all hate groups, feel free."

Those comments drew a standing ovation from the mostly Republican House.

Watch the video to see the full exchange.