The two Black lawmakers who were once expelled from the Tennessee House over a gun violence protest have received an invite to the White House.
On Monday (April 24), President Joe Biden is expected to host Democratic Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones, the Black lawmakers who were once ousted from the state legislature, as well as Gloria Johnson, a third lawmaker who also protested gun violence on the House floor but was spared from expulsion, The Hill reports.
Biden also thanked the lawmakers, now known as the “Tennessee Three,” for their efforts in a recent video call, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
The White House invite comes after the "Tennessee Three" led a gun violence protest on the House floor in the wake of the Nashville school shooting. GOP lawmakers sought to expel the three, saying they engaged in “disorderly behavior” and “did knowingly and intentionally bring disorder and dishonor to the House of Representatives.”
Following a vote, Jones and Pearson were removed from the House over the gun violence demonstration. They have since been reinstated. Johnson, who is white, narrowly survived her expulsion vote.
Biden previously called the expulsions “shocking, undemocratic, and without precedent."
“Rather than debating the merits of the issue, these Republican lawmakers have chosen to punish, silence, and expel duly-elected representatives of the people of Tennessee,” Biden said.