Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) reportedly cursed out a group of teenage Senate pages in the Capitol early Thursday morning, calling them “lazy shits” and “jackasses.”
Senate pages are typically high school age students who assist Senate operations, according to The Hill. They sometimes rest in the Capitol rotunda at night when the Senate works late, as was the case on Wednesday when the chamber voted on the National Defense Authorization Act.
Van Orden spotted the pages while several of them were taking photos of the Capitol dome, and cursed them out, according to Punchbowl News, the first outlet to report on the incident.
“Wake the fuck up you little shits.… What the fuck are you all doing? Get the fuck out of here. You are defiling the space you [pieces of shit],” Van Orden told the pages, according to a transcript of the incident taken by a page and obtained by The Hill.
“Who the fuck are you?” Van Orden asked.
One member of the group told the congressman they are Senate pages to which he responded: “I don’t give a fuck who you are, get out.”
“You jackasses, get out,” he added.
Van Orden defended his behavior in a statement.
“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?”
Van Orden appears to have a history of bullying teenagers. In 2021, he threatened a 17-year-old library worker in Wisconsin over a gay pride display.