GOP congressman complains wearing a MAGA hat isn’t a federally protected status
On Thursday, the House voted overwhelmingly (407 to 23) to pass a broad resolution condemning bigotry following comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) criticizing the Israeli government. All of the “no” votes came from Republicans.
One of those Republicans was Rep. Lee Zeldin (NY), who asked Friday morning why people “targeted for wearing MAGA hats” were not included in the resolution.
In an appearance on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, Zeldin called the measure “watered down” and “spineless.” He then asked why the resolution left out any condemnation of bigotry against religions like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The resolution itself states that “all Americans have a stake in fighting every form of bigotry and hatred against people based on religion, race, or place of birth and origin,” and condemns death threats received by Jewish and Muslim members of Congress.
Zeldin took issue with the specificity of this condemnation.
“If you’re going to start talking about all the different kinds of death threats, you want to point out an anti-Jewish death threat? That’s a problem,” he said. “An anti-Muslim death threat? That’s a problem. What about Steve Scalise? I mean, he was shot because of hate. He was actually shot, he almost lost his life as a result. Why not that?”
He then added, “Why not talk about people who are targeted for wearing MAGA hats?”
The resolution does not specifically address persecution of people wearing hats with political slogans on them, but it does encourage “law enforcement and government officials to avoid conduct that raises the specter of unconstitutional profiling against anyone because of their race, religion, nationality, political, or particular social group.”
Zeldin has been one of President Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters, and has defended the president despite the fact that Trump publicly encouraged violent behavior during his campaign rallies. Last month, a Trump supporter wearing a MAGA hat shoved a BBC reporter at a rally in El Paso, following comments by Trump criticizing the press.
Trump, in a brief press scrum at the White House on Friday, echoed Zeldin’s comments, calling the vote “disgraceful” and accusing Democrats of being “the anti-Jewish party,” but did not mention the Republicans who voted “no” on the resolution.
“I thought yesterday’s vote by the House was disgraceful. … The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party,” he said. “They’ve become an anti-Jewish party. And I thought that vote was a disgrace and so does everybody else if you get an honest answer. If you get an honest answer from politicians, they thought it was a disgrace. The Democrats have become an anti-Israel party. They have become the anti-Jewish party and that’s too bad.”