Lying on the floor, taking pictures of the Capitol Rotunda.
While one politician in Wisconsin thinks it’s desecrating a building and worth swearing at teenagers to stop, another thinks the world that kids would be that interested in government.
Wisconsin Assembly Rep. Steve Doyle had some thoughts Thursday on La Crosse Talk PM of US House Rep. Derrick Van Orden’s reported actions at some teenagers in the US Capitol.
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The Republican became the US House’s “get off my lawn,” guy.
Van Orden defended his actions of swearing at teens in the Senate page program for taking pictures of the US Capitol Rotunda ceiling after midnight, during their last week of work.
Meanwhile, Doyle, who leads children on tours of the Wisconsin state Capitol, encourages the photo op.
“I love it when the fourth graders come to the Capitol and I get to talk to them,” Doyle said. “We’ll sometimes lay on the floor and look up at the mural.
“I’m with them, right there. In fact, I’m the one who tells them the best way to look at the mural in the Rotunda of the state Capitol is, not to just stand there and look up and wrench your neck, it’s to lay on the floor. And so I lay down with them and it’s great. We make the parents do that. And the teachers do that too. It’s a lot of fun.”
The experience for Doyle, however, doesn’t end there. Hearing the news of harassing Senate pages was a bit personal.
“I have very strong opinions about the Capitol Page program,” Doyle said, “because my oldest daughter, Katelyn, was a Capital Page when she was in high school, and that was a great experience. I cannot believe that he would cuss out some high school kids.”
Van Orden didn’t deny the reports. In fact, he doubled down on them putting out a statement that he doesn’t mind the bad press to stand up for what’s right. Van Orden thought the kids were disrespecting the US Capitol, because it used to be a field hospital during the Civil War, and soldiers had once died on that same floor.
“These are kids just trying to have fun,” Doyle said. “It’s not like they’re having a beer party in the Capitol. They’re laying on the floor, taking pictures. I mean, good grief.”
Many have since pointed out that Van Orden didn’t have the same opinion, or curse anyone out, while he was on the Capitol ground Jan. 6, when protestors stormed the building, defiling the monument.
Doyle sees the Senate Pages’ action much like the tours he leads in Wisconsin’s Capitol, as a way to promote learning about government.
“It’s actually pretty neat that they think it’s that cool that that’s what they want to do,” Doyle said of the pages wanting to take pics. “We want to encourage kids to think that government and politics and legislating is cool.”
Doyle thinks it’s great they show that much interest in government — memories that will last a lifetime. But those memories, now, will conjure up mixed emotions, after Van Orden’s actions.
“I just don’t like the double standard of some kids having some honest fun taking pictures in the Capitol and laying on the floor,” Doyle said. “I just don’t understand why that’s a problem. I don’t see that as desecrating the Capitol at all.”