Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA) and Louie Gohmert (TX) were outraged yesterday not to be welcomed with open arms at a prison holding people charged with rioting at the Capital on January 6.
The three lawmakers turned up with camera crews in tow demanding to be given a tour and to be allowed to speak to January 6 prisoners to find out about the conditions in which they are being kept. They said they were concerned detainees lacked access to evidence.
Instead, staff at the D.C. Department of Corrections locked the front door and turned their backs on the lawmakers. Prison officials say they made no prior appointment to visit the facility.
Gaetz, Green and Gohmert proceeded to act stunned that prison staff had better things to do with their time than take part in their planned stunt.
“The supervisor came down and was standing right here and turned her back on me. The other one said she won’t talk anymore and that we’re trespassers,” Gohmert told the press afterward.
“We’re in totalitarian, Marxist territory here. This is the way third-world people get treated,” he added.
Gaetz posted a video of the trio’s attempt to gain access.
BREAKING: The DC Department of Corrections locked out multiple Members of Congress from reviewing the conditions of the January 6th prisoners.
What are they hiding?
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) July 29, 2021
“The door’s locked and we’re just here to ask questions and now they’ve locked the door and not given us access,” Gaetz said, while Taylor Greene knocked on the door to request entry.
“This was apparently a bait and switch. We are here just to speak to a supervisor and when the supervisor came out and we came out to have that discussion, they literally ran behind us and locked the doors,” Gaetz added.
The trio said they wanted to check up on the conditions in which the January 6 accused are being held. Instead, they were informed by staff that they were trespassing and obstructing the entrance.
Here’s the moment we were accused of trespassing while conducting Congressional oversight at the Deplorable Jail.
What are they hiding??
After our visit, I’m even more concerned about the treatment of the prisoners inside. pic.twitter.com/N6Ljmbl93E
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) July 29, 2021
The DC Department of Correction later issued a statement saying all its residents are treated the same, regardless of political belief or background.
It went on to say, “Today, congressional officials arrived at the DC Department of Corrections (DOC) Central Detention Facility (CDF) unannounced with an unauthorized camera crew requesting a facility tour. By doing so, these officials compromised safety and security operations at the DOC. Safety and security related to DOC facilities, staff, and residents is a high priority and for that reason DOC has established procedures and protocols related to visits to its facilities. All visitors, which includes family members of residents, attorneys, and public officials, must adhere to the rules and procedures of the DOC.”
Taylor Greene posted the statement to her own Twitter and disagreed with it, stating, “Inmates in your jail are not residents, they are being detained while awaiting trial.
“You were notified of our intent to visit and regardless Congress has oversight of federal prisons.
“We were told we were trespassing while conducting oversight, which is our job.
“The ‘camera crews’ were members of the press that have the freedom of press, which you denied.
“We have heard horror stories of the treatment of detainees in your facility under your supervision. We look forward to touring your facility very soon.”
The attempted prison visit followed a press conference Greene, Gaetz, Gohmert and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) held on Tuesday to talk about the conditions in which prisoners are supposedly being held. However, protestors showed up and repeatedly shouted at the far-right lawmakers, forcing them to abandon the press conference and run to escape.
Here’s footage of that incident. Set to the theme from the Benny Hill Show.
By popular demand, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz running from their own protest rally…but set to the Benny Hill theme song.
— Gabe Sanchez (@iamgabesanchez) July 29, 2021
The lawmakers’ attempts to just turn up at the DC Corrections facility and be shown around did not impress most online.
Thousands responded to the video Matt Gaetz posted.
It’s a jail, not a zoo. You don’t get to walk around and use the people as props for your little outrage video.
— MontanaGirlDem 🏞️ (@BeccaRocks7399) July 29, 2021
Nobody can just waltz in with cameras. I expect anyone with average intelligence would know that. It’s not surprising that you had no idea.
— Leslie Warlick (@WarlickLeslie) July 29, 2021
Good. You’re out of line trying to create a scene in a prison. Or are you just checking out your future accommodations?
— Cate (@CoffeeCate144) July 29, 2021
Don’t worry, you’ll have a chance to see the inside of a prison soon enough.
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) July 29, 2021
No amount of political theater is going to distract from the investigation you are under. Or the money you are bleeding with this carnival act.
— MoreSkyPlease (@Moreskyplease) July 29, 2021
You know fully well you can’t just walk up to a federal facility unannounced and get in. Hey gang, this is just like the time he tried to pretend he’d been locked out of an impeachment hearing he was supposed to be attending.
— That’s HEDLEY! (@HedleyLamarr23) July 29, 2021
Trying to get a feel for the place, Matty Fivehead?
I don’t know what kind of Venmo allowance you’ll get when you’re in the pokey.
But I think it’s wise that you thought to size up your future digs.
— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) July 29, 2021