New GOP Star Born When California Dems Forcibly Remove Vietnamese Senator for Criticizing Tom Hayden
Sen. Janet Nguyen (R) was the star of last weekend’s California GOP convention because she was forcibly removed from the floor of the Senate on Feb. 23 for criticizing the late Sen. Tom Hayden (D), who was honored by his former colleagues two days before.
The Los Angeles Times reported people at the Republican gathering wore “I Stand with Janet” stickers. A video was played during the convention that told the story of Nguyen and her family’s escape from Vietnam.
She received a standing ovation when she led the Pledge of Allegiance at the convention.
Nguyen said she was speaking for her family and thousands of other Vietnamese refugees who had fled the communist regime that took over South Vietnam after the fall of Saigon in 1975.
“I refused to be silenced or have my #FreedomofSpeech infringed when speaking out for those who are victims of tyrannical regimes!” Nguyen tweeted shortly after she was hauled out of the Senate.
“Extremely grateful for the support for my #1stAmendment right to speak for the memory of those who fled persecution after the Vietnam War,” she added in another tweet that day.
It has been four decades since Tom Hayden protested America’s role in the Vietnam War. Nguyen wrote in an Orange County Register column that she wanted to provide the Legislature with a different perspective of Hayden’s “support for the communist North Vietnamese government.”
It’s an issue that is very personal to Nguyen.
She and her family were among those who fled the persecution of the communist regime from Hanoi.
Nguyen was born in Saigon on May 1, 1976, about a year after the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Her father and uncle had served in the South Vietnamese Army.
After the war, “my uncle was executed by the communists and my father was sought for a ‘re-education camp,’” Nguyen wrote in the op-ed column, which was published two days after her removal from the Senate floor.
As a result, her family, along with millions of other refugees, became so-called “boat people” to escape the communist regime from North Vietnam. Nguyen and her family survived crossing the South Asia Sea on a 10-meter boat and eventually arrived in California in 1981.
“It was in the interest of representing the residents of the 34th district, home to the largest community of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam, that I felt compelled to tell my colleagues what Sen. Hayden’s support of the communist regime meant to the Vietnamese-American community,” Nguyen wrote in her op-ed.
Mike Madrid, a GOP strategist, told the Los Angeles Times that the decision to walk Nguyen off the Senate floor was a huge tactical blunder. He said the GOP can use what the Democrats did to Nguyen to change the narrative about the Republican Party’s stand on immigration, refugees, and women.