Posted by on September 19, 2023 2:41 pm
Categories: News The Hill

Congressman ‘took a bow’ after confronting pages, colleague says

Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) reportedly “took a bow” after admonishing a group of Senate pages in late July who were lying on the floor of the Capitol Rotunda, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis) said Monday after reviewing surveillance footage.

When describing the surveillance footage to local news outlets, Pocan said Van Orden stopped the tour he was giving to about 15 people in order to confront the six Senate pages. He appeared, according to the Wisconsin Democrat, “very belligerently animated, I would say, with his hands.”

After chasing the Senate pages off, Van Orden returned to his tour and “took a bow to his group,” he added about his colleague.

“It seemed like it was more of showing off than actual concern about dead soldiers from the Civil War, which I think was the excuse,” Pocan said in a video posted by a Spectrum News reporter to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. 

“Bottom line is he screwed up. You know, he had a few too many drinks in his office with a bunch of people, took them over for a tour, tried to show off, and he should have just said, ‘Look, I made a mistake. I shouldn’t have yelled at them,'” Pocan continued, speculating about the congressman’s alcohol intake, without any direct evidence.

“And now he’s, like, double-downing on this other lie, essentially,” he said.

Pocan also called on Van Orden to apologize to the pages and to his constituents. 

“He owes the pages an apology. He owes his constituents apology,” he said. “And I think that’s what he should have done in the first place.”

The Wisconsin lawmaker made similar comments to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after reviewing the footage, describing the bow as something from an opera.

“When he walked back to his group, he was like a show-off,” Pocan told the local outlet. “He took a bow for them… Arms out, did the bow like he’s singing an opera.”

“It just shows boorish behavior by a member of Congress,” he added. “Instead of being big enough to apologize, he’s made up this whole story. Because clearly when you bow at the end, I don’t really think the answer he gave of what happened is probably true.”

Pocan requested to review the video after reports of the incident in late July prompted immediate backlash from members of Congress.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that some families of the Senate pages — who were likely all in high-school — took issue with the footage being released publicly, so Pocan reviewed the footage behind closed doors.

When asked for comment on the matter, Van Orden’s office did not address Pocan’s remarks directly. Instead, a spokesperson said the Wisconsin Republican was focused on meeting legislative deadlines.

“Derrick Van Orden came to Congress to work for the people of Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District,” the spokesperson told The Hill in a statement. “Right now, he is laser-focused on making sure the government doesn’t shut down.”

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