A meeting between an 18-year-old Golden West College freshman and Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) reportedly ended in the gazillion-term congressman's Washington, D.C., office with him shaking a finger at her, following her out of the door and threatening her. What was it about Jessica Bravo that set off the Mouth That Rohrabachered? According to the student and her chaperone, it was disclosing that when she was a toddler, her undocumented parents brought her into this country illegally.
The Orange County Register reports today the Feb. 6 meeting sparked a call on House Speaker John Boehner to "publicly condemn the behavior of his colleague." (In the interest of full disclosure, I'd washed down a Vicodin with Southern Comfort before pulling up that story, which caused me to totally forget Gustavo's post from last Thursday, "Dana Rohrabacher Makes DREAMer Cry By Ranting About Illegal Immigration at His D.C. Office.")
Bravo had gone to the nation's capital as part of her training with PICO National Network, a faith-based advocacy group that had won an appointment with Rohrabacher. The Costa Mesa resident and her chaperone, Minerva Gomez of the Orange County Congregation Community Organization, say things began cordial enough, but that the mood in the room changed when Bravo mentioned her immigration status. "He became a little bit more aggressive," she tells the Register. "He did say he hated illegals. To me, it was hard to hear all those things."
So hard that it brought her to tears and Gomez had to step in. Both go on to say Rohrabacher followed them out of his office, yelling and shaking a finger at them, at one point asking if they'd left his office their contact information and, when that was answered in the affirmative, saying, "Good, now I know where you live." The PICO reps took that as a threat to sic immigration officials on the girl and her family.
The Register reports that Rohrabacher's office has a much different interpretation of the events that transpired.
"He asked her, 'What makes you and your family more important than American citizens and people who come here legally?'" Rohrabacher's spokeswoman, Tera Setmayer, who was in the office at the time of the meeting, is quoted as saying. "If you're going to come here to advocate . . . you should be able to defend your position. She clearly didn't know how to answer that, and it was quite apparent that she had been very scripted."
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Setmayer reports the mood changed not because Rohrabacher blew up, but because Gomez accused him of being "racist" against people with brown skin. That admittedly drew the wrath of Setmayer, who is biracial. And that, she said, set off Gomez against her, prompting Rohrabacher to strongly defend his spokeswoman.
And so, we are left with a she/she, he/she said situation that's likely going to take as long to resolve as this country's immigration debate. You can imagine yelps of "Bully"--as in Teddy Roosevelt's call of affirmation, not condemnation--coming from anyone who'd actually vote for Rohrabacher. As for PICO, it started a new campaign: