Saturday, 13 February 2021

GOP congresswoman claims Pelosi stopped her Marine son from attending swearing-in but Speaker blames it on Capitol COVID restrictions

 Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped her active duty Marine son from attending her swearing-in ceremony - but those familiar with the matter said COVID-19 safety restrictions put in place by the Sergeant at Arms and the congressional Attending Physician actually prevented him from going. 

Tenney defeated Democratic incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi by 109 votes in a race that was decided this week, following a strenuous court battle.

The two have had a several-years long battle over New York's 22nd Congressional seat, with Tenney first elected to serve the district in 2016 before being ousted by Brindisi in 2018. 

Rep. Claudia Tenney defeated Democratic incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi by 109 votes in a race that was decided this week

Rep. Claudia Tenney defeated Democratic incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi by 109 votes in a race that was decided this week

Tenney claims Nancy Pelosi prevented her son from being in the gallery during her swearing-in ceremony on Thursday but a spokesperson for the speaker said that that was not handled by her office

Tenney claims Nancy Pelosi prevented her son from being in the gallery during her swearing-in ceremony on Thursday but a spokesperson for the speaker said that that was not handled by her office

On Thursday, Tenney was scheduled to be sworn in at the Capitol - more than a month after the bulk of her colleagues on Jan. 3 had their swearing-in ceremony. 


She explained to Fox & Friends on Friday that she asked to have her son, an active duty Marine and graduate of the Naval Academy, to join in on the ceremony. 

'I just would have loved to have my son with me. I raised him as a single parent,' she said. 'We've been with each other, nothing greater day than his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, it was such an honor and now he is serving our country.'

Tenney said her request was denied, blaming Pelosi for the decision and pointing out that other members were allowed to have at least one family member present for January's ceremonies.  

Tenney pointed out that other congressional members were allowed to have at least one family member present for January's ceremonies. Pelosi during the swearing in ceremony on Jan. 3

Tenney pointed out that other congressional members were allowed to have at least one family member present for January's ceremonies. Pelosi during the swearing in ceremony on Jan. 3

Members and guests wait outside the House chamber in the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Both chambers held rare Sunday sessions to open the new Congress on January 3

Members and guests wait outside the House chamber in the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Both chambers held rare Sunday sessions to open the new Congress on January 3


'We've asked repeatedly, can I just have my son in the gallery,' Tenney said, adding that 'there was no reason indicated.'

The representative also claimed that there was 'no discussion of COVID,' adding that her son 'manages COVID protocols' in the Marines.  

'We just thought it was the least we could ask,' Tenney said. Tennery's son ultimately 'waited outside the gallery door.'

'It was nice of him to take time out of his busy job serving our country to come and support me as I got sworn into the House,' Tenney said.

Timothy P. Blodget, Sergeant at Arms
Attending Physician of the United States Congress Brian Monahan

'The COVID restrictions are set by the House Sergeant at Arms and the Attending Physician,' Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said

She added: 'He was disappointed. He just wanted to be there for me. We are very close.'

Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said COVID-19 restrictions were actually the motivating factor behind why Tenney's son could not attend, something that is not handled by the speaker's office.   

'The COVID restrictions are set by the House Sergeant at Arms and the Attending Physician,' Hammill said. 

Hammill added that the decision 'has nothing to do with politics' and that 'the same thing would happen to a Democratic member.'

Hammill went on to explain that on Jan. 3, the Attending Physician and the Sergeant At Arms gave special dispensation to members because they knew that the bulk would be traveling with family members. 

On that day alone, Hammill added, the House Gallery was specifically reserved for one guest of each freshman member being sworn into Congress.

Hammill added that the gallery is closed and that not even tours or guests are allowed in the area.

Stringent COVID-19 protections have been put in place at the Capitol, Hammill noted.  

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