Democratic lawmaker apologized Monday after jokingly holding up a hammer-and-sickle image behind Del. Lee Carter, a freshman legislator who is also a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
Del. Mark Keam, D-Fairfax, later apologized on the House floor for using a tablet to hold the Communist symbol behind Carter, D-Prince William, at a meeting of the House of Delegates Finance Committee. But the episode could further strain relations between House Democrats and the anti-corporate left.
During a debate on legislation to offer tax breaks to companies that create jobs in economically depressed areas, Carter said the bill may be a “good-faith effort to help combat poverty” but it relies on a “deeply flawed mechanism.”
“That mechanism of racing to the bottom of cutting and hacking and slashing away at our tax code to try to fight over scraps and handouts from billionaires rather than trying to build the economy from the ground up that will actually help the people that are already here,” Carter said.
Sitting behind Carter, Keam can be seen shaking his head and laughing at the comments. After about a minute of looking at his tablet, Keam briefly lifted up the screen while smiling.
Keam apologized on the House floor shortly afterward, saying his conduct may have violated a House rule against using any “language or gesture calculated to wound, offend or insult another member.”
Keam said lawmakers sometimes go “overboard” in attempts at humor.
“After watching the video, it was clearly intended as a joke, but it was in very poor taste and rooted in a lack of knowledge about the history of the political left,” Carter said Monday evening.
Oh yeah, the Democrat mocking Lee Carter in that video…he's so amazing at his job he accidentally voted with Va. Republicans last week.
Oh, and he's a former lobbyist for Verizon. pic.twitter.com/2uDMdUnqJ8
— Killing Russians because Hill lost is bad actually (@BethLynch2020) February 27, 2018
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