OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
It is a long-standing tradition in the United States that when politicians are sworn into office, they use a Bible. However, there have been very few notable exceptions to this.
Rep.-elect Robert Garcia, who is described by his office as the “first immigrant and LGBTQ mayor” in the history of Long Beach, is now prepared to enter Congress as the first person to describe himself that way in that body.
And he will not be using a Bible when he is sworn in.
“Will be proudly sworn-in to Congress on the U.S. Constitution. Underneath the Constitution will be 3 items that mean a lot to me personally. A photo of my parents who I lost to covid, my citizenship certificate & an original Superman #1 from the @librarycongress,” he said on Twitter.
Will be proudly sworn-in to Congress on the U.S. Constitution. Underneath the Constitution will be 3 items that mean a lot to me personally. A photo of my parents who I lost to covid, my citizenship certificate & an original Superman #1 from the @librarycongress. 🇺🇸😊 pic.twitter.com/YGW43OLsIp
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) January 3, 2023
The Constitution, a photo of his parents, and his citizenship certificate are all reasonable, but Superman?
Garcia will serve as the representative for California’s 42nd Congressional District. Garcia immigrated to the U.S. from Peru at the age of 5 and has said that becoming a citizen was not only his proudest moment but also the reason he went into public service. Upon his election as mayor of Long Beach in 2014, Garcia became the first immigrant and LGBTQ mayor in the city’s history. He will also be the first LGBTQ immigrant to serve in Congress, according to his office.
He should have been sworn in on January 3, but the House still has not elected a Speaker so no new representatives can be sworn in until they do.
Former President Donald Trump issued an urgent message Wednesday morning and urged House Republicans to vote for Republican Kevin McCarthy as speaker after the party failed to pick a leader on its first day in control of the chamber.
“Some really good conversations took place last night, and it’s now time for all of our GREAT Republican House Members to VOTE FOR KEVIN, CLOSE THE DEAL, TAKE THE VICTORY, & WATCH CRAZY NANCY PELOSI FLY BACK HOME TO A VERY BROKEN CALIFORNIA, THE ONLY SPEAKER IN U.S. HISTORY TO HAVE LOST THE ’HOUSE’ TWICE!,” the former president said in a post on his Truth Social platform.
“REPUBLICANS, DO NOT TURN A GREAT TRIUMPH INTO A GIANT & EMBARRASSING DEFEAT. IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE, YOU DESERVE IT. Kevin McCarthy will do a good job, and maybe even a GREAT JOB – JUST WATCH!” Trump added.
Trump added in another post: “TAKE THE VICTORY AND RUN!!!”
— New York Post (@nypost) January 4, 2023
McCarthy revealed on Tuesday night that he spoke to Trump and that the 45th president still supported him to be the speaker of the House.
“Trump has already reiterated his support; I talked to him tonight,” McCarthy told reporters.
Asked if Trump wanted him to keep pursuing the speaker’s gavel, McCarthy said, “Oh, yeah.”
“He thinks it’s better that all the Republicans get together and solve this, it doesn’t look good for Republicans, but we want to be able to solve it where we’re stronger in the long run,” he said. “Where what we went through today in the end becomes a positive that we’re actually focused, united.”
Trump previously warned against House Republicans playing games with the Speaker race.
“I like him,” Trump said of McCarthy back in December. “I think it’s a very dangerous game that’s being played. It’s a very dangerous game. Some bad things could happen. Look, we had Boehner and he was a strange person but we ended up with Paul Ryan who was ten times worse. Paul Ryan was an incompetent speaker. I think he goes down as the worst speaker in history. We took [out] Boehner—and a group of people, some of whom are the same, and they’re very good friends of mine. All those people are very good friends of mine.”
“Look, I think this: Kevin has worked very hard,” Trump continued. “He is just—it’s been exhausting. If you think, he’s been all over. I think he deserves the shot. Hopefully he’s going to be very strong and going to be very good and he’s going to do what everybody wants.”
At a meeting with Republican members following the first failed vote on Tuesday, McCarthy laid out his case as to why he should be Speaker, essentially explaining that he had earned the position.
But that didn’t sit well with some members, including Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who reportedly muttered, “this is bullsh*t” when McCarthy was trying to unify the party.