Alabama House Speaker Pro-Tempore Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) says State Rep. Juandalynn Givan's (D-Birmingham) comments in which she referred to a black Republican lawmaker as an “N-word” went immediately unnoticed because members "just don't really listen" when she speaks.
1819 News reported on Givan's comments from the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives Last Tuesday, where she used a 2017 song by hip-hop artist Jay-Z to imply the racial slur toward State Rep. Kenneth Paschal (R-Pelham).
Watch: Democrat State Rep. Givan cites Jay-Z song to refer to Alabama's lone black GOP lawmaker as an 'N-word' — 'You gon' always be one when you walk up in here'
Pringle presided over the House on that day in House Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter's absence.
In an appearance on FM Talk 106.5's "Midday Mobile," Pringle discussed the event and his reaction to Givan's decorum in general.
"Miss Givan, I mean, she comes up and talks, all day long, every day, about every issue, and we just don't really listen," Pringle said. "I mean, I hate to be like that, but, you know, those who speak most are listened to the least."
While Givan's comments ranked amongst the most inflammatory, she was far from the only Democrat to address Paschal. Paschal's bill related to parental rights, a reportedly uncontroversial piece of legislation, which led Pringle to infer different motivations from the protestation.
"She had already spoken numerous times," Pringle continued. "And, very quickly, it became apparent to us because we talked to the minority leadership about the bill, and they said, 'We don't have a problem with the bill.' Well, I very quickly started realizing. I said, 'This has nothing to do with the bill; they just hate Kenneth [Paschal] because he's a Republican.' He's a black Republican, and they just hate him. And it was very visceral what they were saying to him when they were all coming down, you know, and attacking him."
Pringle said he suspected Givan may have violated House rules. However, by the time a staff member had Googled the lyrics, her time had nearly expired, and he was encouraged to "let it go."
"It's a precarious situation to be in," Pringle explained. "If you call her down, that's what she wants you to do. She goes down and says provocative things because she wants you to call her down so then she can play the victim. And that's all they're looking for is they want to play the victim card.
He continued, "She's very happy right now because she's gotten all kinds of media attention, she's been on the T.V., and she's just, you know, up in everybody's face. She wants us to call her down."
When asked by the host what can be done for members to violate the rules, Pringle gave a brief history lesson on Givan in the House.
"You have to remember, she's been physically removed from the chamber in the past," Pringle explained. "We've had to physically have security come in and drag her out. And she's been physically removed from committees; that's the reason why she's no longer on the Judiciary Committee."
He concluded, "I sat next to her for eight years, and some days, her medication is not quite working, and you can tell. I don't know what was going on that day, but she would stand there at the microphone, and it's almost like she was nodding off. She has those very long eyelashes, and you'd see her eyes kind of roll back, and they'd start fluttering, and she'd lose her train of thought."
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