Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) is in hot water after he cursed out a group of teenage Senate pages in the Capitol rotunda early Thursday morning.
According to a transcript written by a page minutes after the incident and obtained by The Hill, Van Orden called the pages “jackasses” and “pieces of s‑‑‑,” and told them he didn’t “give a f‑‑‑ who you are.”
The pages are a group of 16- and 17-year-olds who assist Senate operations, and when the Senate works late — as it did Wednesday night on National Defense Authorization Act amendments — pages generally rest nearby in the rotunda.
“Wake the f‑‑‑ up you little s‑‑‑‑. … What the f‑‑‑ are you all doing? Get the f‑‑‑ out of here. You are defiling the space you [pieces of s‑‑‑],” Van Orden said, according to the account provided by the page.
“Who the f‑‑‑ are you?” Van Orden asked, to which one person said they were Senate pages. “I don’t give a f‑‑‑ who you are, get out.”
“You jackasses, get out,” he added.
The incident, which occurred just after midnight, outraged members of the upper chamber, with one calling the string of remarks “horrible.”
Van Orden did not dispute the exchange and defended his actions when asked by The Hill.
“The history of the United States Capitol Rotunda, that during the Civil War it was used as a field hospital and countless Union soldiers died on that floor, and they died because they were fighting the Civil War to end slavery. And I think that place should be treated with a tremendous amount of respect for the dead,” he said.
“If anyone had been laying a series of graves in Arlington National Cemetery, what do you think people would say?”
Punchbowl News was the first outlet to report the incident.
This is not the first time Van Orden has flashed his temper. Van Orden reportedly threatened a 17-year-old library page in his home state over a gay pride display and demanded to know who set it up. The page in question had set the display up, and she told her parents she did not feel safe to return to the library for work.
Mychael Schnell contributed.