Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., on Thursday defended the removal of an activist from a news conference on Capitol Hill the previous day.
In Avidea Higgins can be seen on Twitter grabbing Jake Burdett, a progressive activist, and pushing him away from an outdoor news conference at which Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and other House Republicans were speaking about the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
After Burdett, 25, approached the podium and asked Boebert questions, including about how she had recently filed for divorce, Higgins stepped in front of him and said, “You’re out. You are outside.”
Higgins, 61, then began hustling Burdett.
“Away from me. Let me go, Clay Higgins. Away from me. What are you trying to do, Clay Higgins?” Burdett is heard saying as he repeatedly pleads to be released. “You abuse me. Away from me. “
Higgins told Burdett to “calm down.”
Higgins defended his actions in a brief statement on Thursday.
“The activist was a 103M. “Looming,” Higgins said, apparently referring to a police code on “disturbing the mentally ill.”
“He was escorted and handed over to the Capitol police. Textbook,” Higgins said.
Higgins also posted a video on Twitter implying that Burdett “became very disruptive and threatening and was breaking the law” and that he “aggressively bothered and approached Congresswoman Lauren Boebert in a threatening manner.”
Burdett, who earlier Wednesday attended a rally on Capitol Hill in support of the Medicare for All Act, did not immediately comment Thursday night.
Kristy Fogle, founder of the Maryland Progressive Healthcare Coalition, who released video of the incident, said on Twitter that the police “looked at my video and held Jake across the street until the press conference was over.”
Fogle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The police at the US Capitol also did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday evening. In a comment on this The hillthe agency said: “We are aware of this situation, have interviewed the people involved and reviewed the available video.”
Bryan Gallion contributed.