President Biden will host the two Tennessee lawmakers who were once expelled from the state’s legislature and a third who was subject to expulsion at the White House on Monday.
Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday that Biden would welcome Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, and Gloria Johnson. The president spoke with the lawmakers, known as the “Tennessee Three,” on a recent video call to thank them for their work.
Jones and Pearson earlier this month were expelled from the legislature for their participation in the recent gun violence demonstrations following a shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tenn., last month. They both have been reinstated. Johnson, who also participated in the protests and is white, narrowly survived her expulsion vote.
Jones, Johnson and Pearson led chants on the House floor last week in the aftermath of the shooting, chanting “No action, no peace.” Resolutions to expel them say they engaged in “disorderly behavior” and “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.”
The expulsion of Jones and Pearson, both of whom are Black, has fueled a nationwide debate in recent days over gun violence, race and the freedom to protest. The White House called the expulsion votes “undemocratic.”
Biden has renewed his calls for an assault weapons ban following the shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that left three 9-year-olds and three adult employees dead.