Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday pushed back against Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-WI) suggestion that residents of her city don't deserve statehood because they have a greater interest in the federal government than other Americans.
The confrontation occurred during a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
"Those individuals who are within the District obviously have a vested interest in a very powerful federal government," Johnson said while arguing against statehood. "Which is counter to the power vested in the states [and] the states want to maintain their sovereign power."
"To me, this seems just like a naked power grab," he continued. "In 2020, 92.2% of D.C. votes went to the Democratic candidate; 5.4% went to the Republican candidate. In the last 80 elections, no Republican candidate has gotten more than 10% of the vote."
Johnson went on to cite the median income of the residents as a point against statehood.
"In the end, people choose to live here," he added before turning to Bowser to complain about how insurrectionists were treated after breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6.
"Have you seen any information as to how much damage was done during the summer rioting?" Johnson wanted to know.
But Bowser insisted on responding to Johnson's suggestion that D.C. residents do not deserve equal representation because they have a vested interest in the federal government.
"Thank you, Senator, for your interest in the District," she began. "But I have to address first by talking about the residents of D.C. -- 700,000 people, hardworking individuals who educate their children, start businesses, and work in the District."
"It would be incorrect to say that D.C. residents have more of an interest in the federal government than other Americans," the mayor added.
Johnson quickly interrupted: "That's not the question I asked you. Could you answer the question I asked you? Do you have a property damage estimate from the summer riots?"
"I'm glad to hear you say that you are opposed to riotous behavior, whether it happened on 16th Street or here at the Capitol," Bowser replied.
"Could you answer the question?" Johnson interrupted again. "Do you have an estimate of the property damage during the summer riots?"
The senator then suggested that the insurrectionists of Jan. 6 are being treated unfairly compared to other rioters.
"If you're asking about how the Federal Bureau of Investigation operates, you'll have to address those questions to them," Bowser said. "We do not permit any riotous behavior, whoever is conducting it."