Tea Party Protester Spits on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver

A statement from Rep. Emanuel Cleaver’s office reports that as he walked into the Capitol on Saturday afternoon to vote a Tea Party protester spat on him. The statement says it’s not the first time he’s faced such behavior. Rep. Cleaver is also The Rev. Cleaver. An ordained United Methodist pastor he has been a leader in the civil rights movement and an articulate voice in the church for social justice.

Rep. Cleaver is not pressing charges against the protestor. In a statement he expresses his dismay that the national dialogue in the 21st century has devolved to this level.

So should we all be dismayed.

The statement from Rep. Cleaver’s office follows in full:

In response to an incident earlier today, Congressman Cleaver’s office has issued the following statement:

For many of the members of the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus), like John Lewis and Emanuel Cleaver who worked in the civil rights movement, and for Mr. Frank who has struggled in the cause of equality, this is not the first time they have been spit on during turbulent times.

This afternoon, the Congressman was walking into the Capitol to vote, when one protester spat on him. The Congressman would like to thank the US Capitol Police officer who quickly escorted the others Members and him into the Capitol, and defused the tense situation with professionalism and care. After all the Members were safe, a full report was taken and the matter was handled by the US Capitol Police. The man who spat on the Congressman was arrested, but the Congressman has chosen not to press charges. He has left the matter with the Capitol police.

This is not the first time the Congressman has been called the “n” word and certainly not the worst assault he has endured in this years fighting for equal rights for all Americans. That being said, he is disappointed that in the 21st century our national discourse has devolved to the point of name calling and spitting. He looks forward to taking a historic vote on health care reform legislation tomorrow, for the residents of the Fifth District of Missouri and for all Americans. He believes deeply that tomorrow’s vote is, in fact, a vote for equality and to secure health care as a right for all. Our nation has a history of struggling each time we expand rights. Today’s protests are no different, but the Congressman believes this is worth fighting for.

Danny Rotert

Communications Director

Congressman Emanuel Cleaver

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