Republican Rep. Clay Higgins (La.) sparked criticism Wednesday after he aggressively removed a protester from a press conference in Washington, D.C.
Jake Burdett, 25, posted footage to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon confronting Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) at a media event in the Capitol. In one clip, the activist yells questions toward Gosar before Higgins quickly walks up to him, introduces himself as a representative from Louisiana, and asks Burdett to “peacefully stand by with your camera and I promise you … I’ll come talk to you straight up and answer all your questions. Fair enough?”
But in a second video, Burdett again shouts questions at Boebert about her recent divorce filing before Higgins rushes up and manhandles him away.
“Aren’t you a congressperson, touching me?” the protester says in the video. “Get off me! You’re hurting me!”
Burdett said he was merely asking “tough questions” to Gosar, known for his close relationships to far-right extremists including Nick Fuentes, and Boebert.
Higgins, however, told HuffPost that Burdett was “threatening,” appearing to reference a police code for a disturbance by a person with mental health issues.
“He was escorted out and turned over to Capitol Police,” he said. “Textbook.”
Burdett told The Daily Beast he wasn’t injured during the incident and was eventually released by Capitol Police. He was in Washington to attend a “Medicare for All” rally for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but noticed Gosar and Boebert setting up a press conference after that event.
“I figured I’d ask them some tough questions,” he told the Beast. “Bird-dog them, whatever you want to call it.”
He told the news site he was evaluating his legal options, but “absolutely prepared to press charges.”