Republican lawmakers voted with majority Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives to take the historic step of expelling a Republican member who let violent, far-right protesters into the state Capitol on Dec. 21, the AP reports. Legislators said on the House floor that this could be the most important vote they ever cast. They then proceeded Thursday night to expel an unapologetic Rep. Mike Nearman with a 59-1 vote, marking the first time a member has been expelled by the House in its 160-year history. The only vote against the resolution for expulsion was Nearman’s own. Rep. Paul Holvey, a Democrat who chaired a committee that earlier Thursday unanimously recommended Nearman’s expulsion, reminded lawmakers of the events of Dec. 21, which were an eerie foreshadowing of the much more serious Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol.
Nearman said he let the protesters in because he believes the Capitol, which has been closed to the public to protect against spread of the coronavirus, should have been open. The assault happened during a peak of the pandemic. But even Republicans said the crowd outside the Capitol that day was not made up of constituents who wanted to peacefully engage in the democratic process. Some were carrying guns. Some shouted false QAnon conspiracy theories about Democrats kidnapping babies. They carried American flags, banners for former President Trump, and a sign calling for the arrest of Democratic Gov. Kate Brown. They broke windows, assaulted journalists, shoved police, and sprayed officers with bear spray. Nearman also faces two misdemeanor criminal charges and has said he will seek a trial by jury.
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