A U.S. congressman from Tennessee is receiving a lot of unwanted attention for what critics say is his hypocrisy and misplaced priorities after he said that nothing could be done about kids being shot in schools but that legislation against drag queens was imperative. He called for a Christian revival.
Rep. Tim Burchett, who represents the Knoxville area in Congress, told reporters on Monday evening, hours after a mass shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville left six victims dead, including three children, that nothing could be done.
“It’s a horrible, horrible situation, and we’re not going to fix it,” Burchett said. “Criminals are going to be criminals.”
The video of his interaction went viral on social media.
“I don’t see any role that we could do other than mess things up,” he said. “I don’t think a criminal’s going to stop from guns, you know, can print ’em out on the computer now — 3-D printing.”
He added, “I don’t think you’re going to stop the gun violence. I think you, you’ve got to change people’s hearts as a Christian, as we talk about in the church, and I’ve said this many times: I think we really need to revive up in this country.”
However, for as strongly as Burchett believes that nothing can be done to stop the senseless murder of kids in classrooms across the United States where mass shootings are a unique problem, a few weeks ago, he was vehement about the government’s role in protecting kids from what Republicans seem to believe is a greater danger than guns: drag queens.
In early March, after Tennessee's governor signed a law restricting drag performances, Burchett appeared on television praising the move.
He said it was a great way to protect children.
“A grown man dressed up like a woman should not be rubbing his crotch in front of a little child,” he said. “Good on Governor Bill Lee and our Tennessee legislature. The law goes into effect on July 1st. And dagnabbit, we don’t put up with that crap in Tennessee, and we shouldn’t,” he said.
The conservative small-government politician added, “The rest of the country should follow suit. This is wrong. As wrong as it can be, and we’ve let these bunch of radicals push the envelope.”
He claimed that gay friends of his agreed with his point of view.
“They say kids shouldn’t be exposed to this. This a radical fringe that we are allowing to declare normalcy. This is wrong as wrong can be,” he added.
Burchett was mocked roundly online and among media pundits on television who pointed out his double standard. Many pointed out that neither gender-affirming care nor drag queens are killing children in schools, but guns are.
Asked on Monday how he protects his children, the congressman uttered tone-deaf words.
“Well, we homeschool her, but that’s our decision,” he said. “Some people don’t have that option, and frankly, some people don’t need to do it. I mean, they don’t have to. It just suited our needs much better.”