Richmond objected to Republican attempts to add amendments calling for investigations into anti-fascist activists, known as “antifa.”
“To my colleagues, especially the ones that keep introducing amendments that are a tangent and a distraction from what we’re talking about, you all are white males,” he said. “You never lived in my shoes.”
He spoke of his own experiences as a Black man and his fears for his son.
Gaetz eventually interrupted.
“Are you suggesting that you’re certain that none of us have non-white children?” he asked. “You reflected on your Black son, and you said none of us could understand.”
“Matt, Matt, stop,” Richmond said. “I’m not about to get sidetracked about the color of our children.”
Richmond said he knew that some Republicans on the committee have Black grandchildren.
“It is not about the color of your kids. It’s about Black males, Black people in the streets that are getting killed, and if one of them happens to be your kid, I’m concerned about him, too ― and clearly, I’m more concerned about him than you are.”
That set Gaetz off.
“You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do?” Gaetz, who is unmarried, shot back. “Who in the hell do you think you are?”
The two raised voices as committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) called for order.
“Was that a nerve?” Richmond asked.
“You’re damn right that was a nerve,” Gaetz replied.
The bill they were debating later passed the committee along party lines.