He was way off the Marx.
A member of Virginia’s House of Delegates has apologized for holding up an image of a hammer and sickle over the head of a fellow legislator.
During a meeting of the House Finance Committee Monday, Delegate Lee J. Carter, a Democratic Socialist, railed against tax breaks given to companies around northern Virginia at a time when his constituents are being forced to leave their homes because they can’t afford to live in the same area anymore, WTVR reports.
However, as the freshman lawmaker and Marine Corp veteran discussed “cutting and hacking and slashing away at our tax code to try to fight over scraps and handouts” in order to create jobs in depressed areas, Delegate Mark Keam, a Democrat, laughed and shook his head behind Carter’s back.
“In my district,” Carter said, “we’ve got entire low-income neighborhoods where we are having to fight the bulldozers because we’ve got out-of-state money that is trying to come in and buy up property people are living on right now and kicking them out.”
Without his peer noticing, Keam, smiling, then held up a tablet computer screen featuring the Communist symbol.
Carter was elected handily last year after running on a platform that focused largely on expanding Medicaid access, raising the minimum wage and campaign finance reform.
Shortly after the stunt, Keam admitted what he did was wrong.
“Even though sometimes we get overboard by laughing and having fun with each other in terms of our debates, I don’t think our House or any of our committees should be a place where we bring juvenile jokes like that,” he said.
The Fairfax County representative also posted a message on social media saying that as he and Carter debated a tax bill, he “made a light-hearted visual joke about our differences.”
“I apologize to Del. Carter for going overboard with my stupid joke,” he wrote.
For his part, Carter took to Twitter to post footage of the incident and refocus on the topic of income inequality in Virginia.
“I share this video not to rehash today’s incident, but to redirect attention onto the message I was speaking to, on how economic development policy in the Commonwealth needs to help those living in impoverished areas,” he said, “not provide tax breaks for large out-of-state corporations.”