Maxwell Frost and Justin Jones are ‘fired up, fed up’ with GOP-led attacks

“We've seen the rise of this right-wing movement that is dangerous and targeting marginalized communities because they don't have solutions,” said U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-FL.

Democratic leaders are “fired up” and “fed up” with Republican-led attacks against marginalized communities.

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-FL, held a press conference on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol titled, “On the Frontlines of Democracy: Young & Fed Up,” where the freshman congressman addressed issues impacting Black and brown Americans.

U.S. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) participates in a meeting of the House Oversight and Reform Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on January 31, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

“We’ve seen the rise of this right-wing movement that is dangerous and targeting marginalized communities because they don’t have solutions to the affordable housing crisis … to ending gun violence and no solution to the existential climate crisis,” said the 26-year-old Generation Z lawmaker.

He said of Republican politicians: “What they want to do instead is pick marginalized communities – LGBTQ class folks, trans folks, Black people, Black history books, immigrants, and target them instead.”

At the press conference, Frost told theGrio he believes the United States has seen an uptick in right-wing attacks lobbied against marginalized communities because “time is not on” the GOP’s side.

“In the last election, over 70% of Gen Z and young millennials voted for Democrats who are going to focus on the climate crisis, gun violence – the issues of our time,” he argued.

Frost continued, “That’s why we’re seeing the rise in horrible gerrymandering. That’s why we’re seeing people talk about raising the voting age. That’s why we’re seeing all these attacks on education … they want to change the way our generation thinks. But what they don’t understand is they’re just pissing us off to go work even harder.”

Frost also discussed the nation’s gun violence epidemic in the aftermath of the Mar. 27 mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, where a lone gunman fatally shot three children and three adults. The shooting sparked outrage and further ignited calls for gun reform, including Tennessee State Reps. Justin Jones, Justin J. Pearson and Gloria Johnson.

The lawmakers known as the Tennessee Three faced expulsions by their Republican colleagues in the House of Representative after joining thousands of protesters against gun violence in the state capitol building. 

Tennessee State Representative Justin Jones calls on his colleagues to pass gun control legislation from the well of the House Chambers during the legislative session at the State Capitol Thursday, March 30, 2023 in Nashville, Tenn. (George Walker IV /The Tennessean via AP)

Congressman Frost said the Tennessee Three sprung into action to “fight” for “common sense gun reform … [and] a world where we don’t have to fear our lives in schools.”

Instead of Republican legislatures standing with Jones, Johnson and Pearson, the Democratic lawmaker said, “We saw a right-wing GOP controlled legislature lash out against [them] for doing their jobs.”
Jones, who was present at the press conference led by Frost, said he and countless others are fed up with the endless cycle of mass shootings” and of “legislatures and politicians who traffic in the politics of racism.”

We must challenge the systems of authoritarianism and fascism that are seeking to take us backward in this nation,” added Jones. 

The Tennessee state representative, who was reinstated after he was expelled, told theGrio that his Republican colleagues continue to try to silence him.

“We know their attempt to expel us was really an attempt to expel the movements we represent which are movements challenging this proliferation of guns … [and] challenging systemic racism,” said Jones.

Jones argued that attempts to remove him and his fellow Democratic lawmakers were meant to “silence us.” He said he sees it as “confirmation that we are a threat to their power system and that we are on the right side of history.”

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, also attended Wednesday’s press conference and told reporters that Republicans are losing the war she said is being waged against Black and brown communities.

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY. Credit: Getty

“This is what fascism does when it is on its hind heels…we are winning and that is why they are fighting harder than they’ve ever fought before,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

The progressive lawmaker said the Jan. 6 insurrection was a “dress rehearsal” for incidents like when state Republicans attempted to expel Jones in Tennessee. 

Because Republicans could not “block a duly elected official,” President Joe Biden, from from taking office, said Ocasio-Cortez, legislatures across the country “looked at that and [said], you know what, let’s try to get Representative Jones out from office…because we cannot beat them.”

U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, D-PA, joined her colleagues on Wednesday, telling reporters, We should be ashamed of what we are seeing our country become.”

The fascism that we’re seeing from the right wing isn’t an illusion … we see every day the steps that they are willing to take to take power in this country,” said Congresswoman Lee.

She continued: “We know who we’re up against when we see how many Republican legislators are OK with babies in body bags. We know what we’re up against when we see the climate crisis for what it is and we see people turn around as if it doesn’t matter.”

Lee told reporters that all Americans have a role to play to ensure democracy is protected.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Frost assured that he will fight alongside his colleagues on behalf of all Americans.

UNITED STATES – JANUARY 31: Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa., participates in the House Oversight and Accountability Committee organizing meeting in the Rayburn House Office Building on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

We are here to challenge power. We are here to reclaim power. And we are here to build power not just for communities, but with them,” he declared.

“We want reproductive freedom. We want health care for all people. We want better paying jobs and common-sense gun reform.”

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