Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL) on Thursday requested the Judiciary Committee recite the Pledge of Allegiance together to kick off each hearing, suggesting the move would help provide some unity within Congress and pride during these divisive times.
Democratic House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY) dismissed the request as “unnecessary,” telling Gaetz that lawmakers already say the pledge once a day.
“I understand and appreciate the significance and importance of the work that we do, and I just think it would be nice, if in the spirit of national unity and national pride, which I know we all aspire to do to a greater extent, that the beginning of each meeting, the chair, or one of the designees of the chair, would have the opportunity to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance,” Gaetz requested.
“We’re all aware that in these times it’s important for the country to see the members of Congress working together on some things,” the Republican continued, “and while I know that we can deal with divisive issues in the committee, it would be my hope that we could start every committee with a great unifying patriotic moment.”
“It’s unnecessary,” Nadler told Gaetz. “The House begins every day with the Pledge of Allegiance; we’re covered by that.”
As noted by Fox News, the House has kicked off with the pledge as part of its daily order of business since 1988.
“It’s not in our practice to do so,” Nadler said of saying the pledge more than once a day, adding, “I appreciate the gentleman’s suggestion, but we are covered by the House. We all say the Pledge of Allegiance every day.”
As the nation has become increasingly divided, generally unifying acts of patriotism, such as standing for the national anthem, have, too, become a partisan issue.
Back in 2016, then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick politicized the anthem when he refused to stand over alleged anti-black racism in the United States. Now, the protest has spilled into other sports, such as professional basketball and women’s soccer.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media at the start of his protest, back in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
“This is not something that I am going to run by anybody,” he continued. “I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. … If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
Why don't Democrats want to say the Pledge? pic.twitter.com/RMdbg5TAMU
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) February 4, 2021