During a heated debate over an Indiana “religious freedom” bill, a Democratic representative took the opportunity to accuse the child of one of her colleagues of racism.
The child is an 18-month-old toddler.
Rep. Vanessa Summers, who represents Indianapolis, took to the podium to question the bill sponsor about the impact of the legislation.
After that, she brought up an exchange she had with Rep. Jud McMillin, a Republican.
“I told Jud McMillin I love his son, but he’s scared of me because of my color and that’s horrible,” Summers said, to groans.
“It’s true,” she insisted.
She urged McMillin to “introduce your child to some people of color so that he won’t live his life as a prejudiced person.”
After her statement, Summers defended her accusations to the Indy Star.
Referring to the toddler, she said, “He looked at me like I was a monster and turned around and cried. And I told him you need to introduce your child to some people that are dark-skinned so he will not be scared.”
McMillin defended his son, saying, “I can tell you that if he reacted the same way he reacts with anybody brand new, he buries his head in his dad’s shoulder. Whoever it is, it’s what he does. He’s an 18-month-old kid; he’s in a new environment up here in the place like the Statehouse but doesn’t know anybody. I honestly don’t remember anything out of the ordinary.”
He added, “It’s just incredibly unfortunate. You’d like to think that we would have professional discussion on the House floor and certainly be able to avoid having 18-month-olds in the discussion.”
House Speaker Brian Bosma agreed the accusation was “unfortunate,” but added there are no plans to sanction Summers.
“I’d agree, it was an unfortunate comment. But what’s said is said. On an emotional issue for folks, they sometimes say things that aren’t advisable,” Bosma told the Star.
“That’s probably one of these times.”