Facing her own censure, Chase plans resolution to censure Lucas
Senate president pro tempore participated in racial justice protest last June
As state Democrats seek to censure her for participating in the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally that preceded the violent breach of the U.S. Capitol, state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield County, said she planned to file a resolution Monday to censure Democratic colleague Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, for taking part in a social justice protest last summer in Portsmouth.
Chase, who is running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, warned her colleagues last week on the Senate floor, “If you’re going to call me out, I’m going to start calling people out in this room.” Chase said Friday that she planned to file a censure resolution Monday against Lucas.
Chase also tweeted Friday that she planned “to call for censure of every last legislator who has arrested or participated in a rally that ended in destruction.”
“Amanda Chase is reacting to the filing of SR91 to censure her for helping incite the insurrection to overthrow the government,” Lucas said in a tweet Friday. “We can no longer allow her to spread conspiracy theories without consequences.”
A resolution sponsored by Sen. John J. Bell, D-Loudoun, calls on the state Senate to censure Chase for “fomenting insurrection against the United States” after she “addressed a crowd gathered in Washington, D.C., to urge that action be taken to overturn the lawfully conducted 2020 presidential election.” Eleven other Democratic senators, including Lucas, are listed as co-sponsors. The resolution has been referred to the Senate Privileges and Elections committee, which meets Tuesday.
In her speech last week, Chase said it was “outrageous” and “hypocritical” that lawmakers who participated in social justice protests last summer after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis would seek to punish Chase for speaking at the Jan. 6 pro-Trump rally. Chase added that she “will not be lectured about civility by the same politicians who remained silent while our cities and communities were burned and destroyed by domestic terrorist groups Antifa and BLM.”
According to videos she posted on her personal and Senate Facebook pages on Jan. 6, Chase had left the Capitol area before the breach, and departed Washington, D.C., altogether by mid-afternoon. She has defended her participation in the demonstration — which drew calls from Senate Democrats and others for her to resign. Chase said she “absolutely” won’t resign and has continued to argue without proof that she believes the presidential election was “stolen” from President Donald Trump.
Chase said Friday she planned to file her own resolution to censure Lucas on Monday. As of noon, it had not yet appeared in Virginia’s Legislative Information System, although there is typically a delay between filing and publishing. Chase’s resolution is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Lucas, who has represented her district since 1992 and serves as Senate president pro tempore, was among 19 co-defendants charged last August with felonies related to a June 2020 protest that led to the toppling of a Confederate statue, charges that were later dropped. Lucas and other political figures, including the city’s vice mayor, a local school board member and the president of the Portsmouth NAACP, had spoken earlier in the day at the protest in Portsmouth but had left before the statue, erected to honor local Confederate soldiers, came down. One man was seriously injured when the statue fell but has recovered.
The timing of the warrants — months after the protest and the day before Lucas was set to join the Senate in Richmond for its special session in August — led to widespread criticism of Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene, who has since been fired and plans to sue the city.
The last time a Virginia state senator was censured was in 1986, when Norfolk Sen. Peter Balabas was censured for unethical conduct. Censuring does not include any other penalties, but it is the harshest sanction the body can use against one of its own, except for expulsion, which requires a two-thirds majority vote.