Rep. Malinda White may have been hoping to smooth things over with her fellow lawmakers after allegedly threatening one of her Republican counterparts with violence, but Rep. Alan Seabaugh, who was on the receiving end of White’s alleged threat to get her gun, isn’t going to let the situation end without a police investigation.
Seabaugh, a Republican who represents the Shreveport area, has now filed a police report accusing his Democratic colleague of assaulting him on the floor of the state House during a debate over a bill White had introduced that would have expanded the definition of domestic violence.
“She stood up and she grabbed my arm and another representative got up and got between us and started pulling her back and she said I’m going to go get my gun and finish this, or, let me go get my gun and we will finish this,” said Seabaugh. “She was way too emotional, emotionally involved in the bill.”
White apologized for the incident on the House floor Thursday and said she, as a domestic abuse survivor, was triggered by Seabaugh telling her she did not understand her legislation. Seabaugh said the disagreement was just about a technical term that he wanted to be inserted into the bill that White had not included. Seabaugh said that he told White because she was not a lawyer she did not understand why the term needed to be added in.
The bill, which would have expanded the definition of domestic abuse to include intimidation and coercion, was opposed by the NRA and the conservative Christian advocacy group Louisiana Family Forum.
Seabaugh said White was “irrational about the issue” and claimed other unnamed individuals accused White of similar behavior earlier in the session.
“After my incident occurred I had two other people call me and tell me that she threatened to shoot them after they testified against her bill in the Senate committee. She followed one of them to the elevator and confronted one of them in the hallway,” said Seabaugh.
Seabaugh says that White should be charged with simple assault, and argues that there’s a double standard for politicians depending on what party they belong to.
“The fact of the matter is that in this country we have different rules for Democrats versus Republicans, that’s just a fact. I think that’s more significant than the fact that she is a woman and I am a man,” said Seabaugh. “She actually threatened to shoot another House member on the House floor and she has not been reprimanded, she has not been censured.”
Well, it’s going to be up to Republicans, not Democrats, to censure or reprimand White since they’re the ones in control of the state House in Louisiana. To that end, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder has acknowledged the police investigation and has met separately with both White and Seabaugh, but hasn’t announced if any action will be taken by the House to discipline White over her alleged threat and physical assault.
I understand that Malinda White was personally invested in her bill, given that she’s a survivor of domestic violence herself. That still doesn’t excuse her reaction to Seabaugh’s objection to the language of her proposal, and if the two other people who’ve alleged that White threatened to shoot them over opposition to her legislation are willing to speak out publicly, I don’t think that a reprimand or censure would be enough. Oregon’s legislature just voted to expel a House member who let protesters inside the state Capitol building last December, and White’s alleged threats to lawmakers and those testifying against her bill should be considered at least as serious a breach of the peace if the allegations are confirmed by police.
Still, I wouldn’t expect the House to take any steps to discipline or remove White until after the police investigation has run its course. If charges are filed, I think expulsion would be warranted, even if Seabaugh himself hasn’t yet asked for that option to be put on the table.