'Who in the hell do you think you are?': Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond erupt into a shouting match during hearing on police reform

Getty ImagesRepublican Rep. Matt Gaetz on June 17.
  • A House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform flew off the rails when Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond had a shouting match.
  • After Richmond discussed the injustice that Black people like him and his son face, Gaetz interjected and asked, “Are you suggesting that you’re certain none of us have nonwhite children? Because you reflect on your Black son, and you said none of us could understand.”
  • Richmond cut Gaetz off, saying, “I’m not about to get sidetracked about the colour of our children. We’re talking about Black people in the streets that are getting killed, and if one of them happens to be your kid, I’m concerned about him too. And clearly, I’m more concerned about him than you are. So let’s be clear about that.”
  • “You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do?” Gaetz yelled back. “Who in the hell do you think you are? This is outrageous.”
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A House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform flew off the rails on Wednesday when two lawmakers, Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, got into a shouting match.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Richmond said he wasn’t “interested in studying antifa,” the Ku Klux Klan, or “sovereign citizens right now because that is not the imminent threat that Black men face on a daily basis.”

“Right now, too often, it is law enforcement, those who were sworn to protect and to serve. And so all we are asking today is to deal with that,” Richmond said.

Richmond comments come as nationwide protests against police brutality continue after the Memorial Day killing of 46-year-old George Floyd. Floyd was a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and begged for air.

Richmond went on to say that he wanted to address the issue at the hearing because he didn’t want his colleagues to “leave here saying, ‘Well, we didn’t know. We didn’t know that’s how you felt, Cedric.'”

“I wanted to be crystal clear, and I will give you the benefit of the doubt that it is unconscious bias that I’m hearing because at worst it’s conscious bias, and that I would hate to assume from any of the people on the other side,” Richmond said before Gaetz asked him to yield his time.

“I appreciate your passion,” Gaetz said when Richmond agreed to yield. “Are you suggesting that you’re certain none of us have nonwhite children? Because you reflect on your Black son, and you said none of us could understand -“

Richmond then cut Gaetz off and reclaimed his time.

“Matt, Matt, stop,” Richmond said. “I’m not about to get sidetracked about the colour of our children. We’re talking about Black people in the streets that are getting killed, and if one of them happens to be your kid, I’m concerned about him too.”

He added: “And clearly, I’m more concerned about him than you are. So let’s be clear about that. So I am -“

Gaetz then erupted at Richmond.

“You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do?” the Florida congressman yelled. “Who in the hell do you think you are?”

“If the shoe fits,” Richmond responded as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler instructed Gaetz to stand down and let Richmond reclaim his speaking time.

“You don’t know how much we care about our families,” Gaetz said, and Richmond replied, “A kicked dog hollers.”

“This is outrageous,” Gaetz said. “You should take those words down. I know you care about your family and love your family. So do we, damn it.”

“Was that a nerve?” Richmond said, appearing to taunt Gaetz.

“Yeah, you’re damn right it was a nerve,” Gaetz responded.

Watch a clip of the fiery exchange below:

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