Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) were each fined $5,000 on Friday for refusing to go through a metal detector before entering the House chamber.
Gohmert said in a statement Friday later that he’ll be “appealing the fine and taking whatever action is necessary, especially considering this policy is unconstitutional.” That may come as a surprise to Americans with less lofty positions who have been required to go through metal detectors for years.
The GOP lawmakers were the first to be fined for refusing to cooperate with the new security measure passed by the House on Tuesday following the violent storming of the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters last month. Five people died during the insurrection.
Gohmert complained in his statement that Democrats were “making up the rules as they go.”
Gohmert, who had skirted the detectors in previous days, explained that he initially went through the screening to enter the chamber. But then he left to use a restroom off of the Speaker’s lobby and did not go through the metal detector again when he returned.
Gohmert disdainfully quipped on Twitter that “unlike in The Godfather, there are no toilets with tanks where one could hide a gun in the restroom in the Speaker’s Lobby off the floor. Re-entry onto the floor ... should have been a non-issue,” he added.
If Gohmert, however, were a gun-carrying lawmaker, presumably an aide could provide him with a firearm after he left the chamber and he could explain later that he had simply been in the restroom.
Clyde could not immediately be reached for an explanation about his situation.
Critics, including some constituents, responded on Twitter that Gohmert should follow metal detector rules like everyone else on the planet.