NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Tennessee State Representative sparked a storm on social media Monday when he tweeted out support for a group of armed protesters in Oregon.
Rep. Andy Holt, a Republican who represents District 76, tweeted early Monday morning asking where he could send support to the group headed by Ammon Bundy.
In response, openly-gay Chattanooga Councilman Chris Anderson tweeted at the Department of Justice asking that they investigate Holt for “treason against our nation.”
The debate then took a personal turn when Holt called Anderson “girlfriend.”
“He was doubting my sincerity as a Christian,” Holt told News 2 over the phone. “Anderson is a self-professed homosexual that brought up this question and, again, has questioned my faith as a Christian based on this topic.”
Holt says he doesn’t want the spat to detract that he stands by the message in Oregon.
Holt says he was a rancher for nearly three years in Wyoming and believes the federal government owns too much land out West.
“I’m not going to storm a federal building and occupy it,” said Holt. “This has everything to do with citizens rights and the rights that are afforded to them by their state.”
The Tennessee Democratic Party released this statement in the wake of Holt’s remarks on Twitter:
Speaker Harwell and Governor Haslam need to show some leadership and disavow the reckless statements made by Rep. Andy Holt in support of armed extremists who took over a government building in Oregon. The comments Rep. Holt made in support of the Bundy militia are completely unacceptable. It’s time for the Republican leaders to take responsibility and stand up to the extremists in their own party. This is not the first time they have ignored extreme actions and comments by their members. From Sheila Butt to Jeremy Durham and now Andy Holt, there is a pattern by Republicans in Tennessee of ignoring bad behavior.
The following statement was released by Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini on Tuesday:
Yesterday, Speaker Harwell backtracked on her statement that the Republican Caucus would vote on whether Rep. Jeremy Durham would keep his leadership position with the Republican House caucus. This disappointing development is not surprising given that Tennessee Republicans continuously elevate fundraising and party politics over what’s best for the people of Tennessee.
It’s been weeks and Rep. Durham’s constituents still don’t know for what inappropriate behavior he received a reprimand from the human resources department at the legislature. Whatever it is that he has done, the people of his district deserve to know and those who work at the state legislature must know. Why are they still hiding information from the public that can possibly jeopardize the safety of the legislature as a workplace?”