California senator removed after criticizing late lawmaker

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California lawmaker was removed from the state Senate floor Thursday after refusing to stop delivering a speech criticizing late state Sen. Tom Hayden for his leadership role in the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s.

Republican Sen. Janet Nguyen lived in South Vietnam as a child and fled with her family when its U.S.-backed government fell. She spoke during a portion of the Senate session reserved for memorializing people who have died, and the presiding senator told security to remove her.

Several sergeants-at-arms surrounded Nguyen and gently nudged her toward the door. Nguyen dodged them and continued yelling passages from her speech for nearly a minute as the presiding Democrat repeatedly told her to stop.

“I have every right to speak on behalf of the 500,000” Vietnamese-Americans living in California, Nguyen yelled before leaving the chamber as another senator said her comments were disrespectful and inappropriate.

Nguyen represents a portion of Orange County known as Little Saigon, home to the largest Vietnamese population outside Vietnam. Many fled South Vietnam and blame the U.S. anti-war movement for undermining American forces and contributing to the victory by the communist North.

The Senate confrontation drew an angry rebuke from Nguyen’s fellow Republicans, who said she was being silenced.

“I very seldom get enraged, and I am deeply enraged at this moment,” said Minority Leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield.

Democrats said Nguyen…

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