Republican State Sen. Zach Whiting took the floor of the Iowa Senate on Thursday to respond to Sen. Joe Bolkcom’s temper tantrum that took place on Wednesday.
Whiting also responded to Democrat State Sen. Tony Bisignano’s claim that he is fearful of being in the Iowa Capitol because of what happened in Washington D.C.
Whiting recounted sitting at his desk last year being moved from the floor by the Secretary of the Senate and put into a secure room without having any idea why they were in there.
“And you know what we were doing when we were in there, counting guns and bullets, cause we didn’t know if we were going to make it out or if we were going to have to shoot our way out,” Whiting said. “Our Capitol was under siege in June.”
Whiting said that Bisignano’s speech may have carried more weight if he provided the speech in June of 2020 as opposed to January of 2021.
He then transitioned to Bolkcom’s proclamation that his First Amendment rights don’t stop when he walks into the chamber.
“Senators don’t shed their First Amendment rights when they walk in the door,” Whiting said. “Senators are bound, however, to follow the rules this chamber sets forth. And if a member allegedly violates those rules and is called on a point of order, that may be a necessary limit on the exercise of their First Amendment right.”
Whiting pointed out the public doesn’t shed their rights at the door either.
“There is a chilling movement afoot,” Whiting said. “Government can wash its hands and say it’s not regulating the content or viewpoint of speech because there’s a new breed of censorship emerging. Liberal Silicon Valley tech and so-called public health experts.”
Whiting focused on the “political weaponization” of public health.
“It’s a grave threat to our First Amendment rights as well,” Whiting said. “Indeed, it appears that the notion of the public health is being used to discriminate against speech.”
Sturgis? A super spreader. Gov. Reynolds’ Condition of the State Address? A super spreader. Monday’s Freedom Rally 2.0 to protest against wearing masks in the Capitol? A super spreader.
“These are super-spreader events because of the content or viewpoint that is being shared at the gathering,” Whiting said. “So, what is not a super-spreader event? Protests and riots in the streets of Des Moines, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis and many cities across the country this summer. The capture of a Seattle police precinct and the establishment of a sovereign commune, which I think they called the Chop or the Chaz or whatever they called it. A city within a city in Seattle. The email I got this week about Tuesday’s protest on I think the north side of the Capitol for a mask mandate. Any protest against Republicans or President Trump — those are not super-spreader events.
“Do you see where I’m going with this Mr. President? This isn’t science. The Left is weaponizing science because their goofy ideas on climate change, drugs, public health and a host of other issues are not validated through the democratic and electoral process. So instead, they weaponize science and the culture, and on social media to attack and limit the rights of so-called science deniers. That’s what’s really happening here Mr. President and it was on full display on the floor of the Iowa Senate yesterday.”
Whiting highlighted that Sen. Rob Hogg isn’t here, but is tweeting a lot.
“A senator, a man who wasn’t in the room, spent his time counting the people in the room who weren’t wearing masks,” Whiting said. “What he didn’t tweet about was how many Democrats were there. My House colleagues identified 4-5. I identified only perhaps Sen. (Amanda) Ragan and Sen. (Kevin) Kinney, and if I missed any of you, I apologize.
“Now of course, none of this Mr. President, none of this, none of this is helpful to the discourse. None of this solves any problems. None of this advances one bit of policy to help get Iowa back on track. But, apparently, it will help certain members of the minority raise money from their fat-cat donors — I believe that’s also a phrase that the Senator from Johnson likes to use a lot, fat-cat donors.”
Whiting told the freshmen members of the Senate that ultimately, nobody will be effective in the Senate or advance good policy for Iowa when they act like Bolkcom did in a 31-18 minority.
“Iowans gave legislative Republicans a resounding mandate to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said. “And that is exactly what this caucus intends to do — to lead and to keep Iowa moving. The message of the minority party is clearly not resonating with the people of Iowa.”