House Speaker Nancy Pelosi leads a rally celebrating the passage of gun safety legislation as protesters swarm the court just yards away on June 24, 2022.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Democrats sang “God Bless America” as they celebrated the impending passage of a new gun law.
But across the street, protesters were grappling with the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.
It represented an awkward collision of two of the Democratic Party’s main priorities.
On Friday, House Democrats gathered on the steps of the Capitol outside the House Chamber to celebrate the passage of a new gun safety law, cheerfully singing “God Bless America” at an event helmed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
It couldn’t have come at a more awkward time.
Across the street, protesters had swarmed the Supreme Court building in the wake of an historic ruling that overturned both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and revoked the constitutionally protected right to an abortion in America.
Associated Press reporter Farnoush Amiri shared a video of the press conference, which quickly went viral on Twitter.
—Farnoush Amiri (@FarnoushAmiri) June 24, 2022
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” wrote former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson in response, noting the juxtaposition. “The Democrats have never looked so clueless.”
The confluence of events, which seemed to underscore the inability of Democrats to change the country’s abortion laws despite maintaining control of both the White House and Congress, was actually the result of two different political movements colliding.
Later on Friday, the House voted to pass the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a bill introduced in the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, that enacts the toughest new gun restrictions since the 1990s. A full description of what’s in the bill can be found here.
But shortly after 10am on Friday morning, the court announced its decision, prompting several Democratic lawmakers to walk to the Court as part of spontaneous protests. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures across the country — not to mention average citizens who may rely on abortion access — are now grappling with the implications of the high court’s ruling.
It’s not the first time House Democrats have been seen as failing to meet the moment.
In January, as the House commemorated the one year anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Pelosi displayed a video from “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda.
—Human Rights Watch Watcher (@queeralamode) January 6, 2022