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July 20, 2017

Pennsylvania lawmaker accuses Democratic colleague of calling him 'racist bigot'

A Republican Pennsylvania state representative claims his Democratic colleague from Philadelphia threw papers at him and launched into a "verbal tirade" at the Capitol last month.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, of Butler County, said in a video published to his YouTube page Wednesday that representative berated him after a State Government Committee hearing on legislation that would crack down on so-called sanctuary cities.

The lawmaker in question has been identified by the Inquirer as Rep. Brian Sims, the first openly gay state legislator in Pennsylvania. Sims has a contentious history with Metcalfe.

In the video, Metcalfe, chair of the committee, said he convened a meeting on June 13 to vote on the legislation, which was introduced by another Philadelphia representative, Republican Martina White.

After the GOP-controlled committee voted along party lines to advance the bill, Metcalfe said, an "angry" Philly Democrat came up to his desk and threw his papers at him. Metcalfe called him "emotionally unhinged," and said the lawmaker later went to his secretary and told her she worked for a bigot and called Metcalfe an "ignorant, racist bigot" on the House floor.

The video concludes with Metcalfe saying his colleagues and supporters must defeat the left and "all other enemies of liberty." It also includes footage of the encounter at the committee meeting:

The anti-sanctuary city bill calls to withhold state funds from municipalities that don't cooperate with federal immigration officials, and would allow individuals injured by undocumented immigrants to sue their local governments if those governements have sanctuary city policies in place.

Philadelphia is a sanctuary city, and Sims has been a vocal opponent of thee legislation.

In a statement to the Inquirer, Sims said while Metcalfe could "belittle" him for being gay and advocate for legislation that doesn't fit the state's values, he wouldn't allow him to question his patriotism. Sims also said he wouldn't back down from a "bully."

This isn't the first public spat between the two lawmakers. In 2013, Metcalfe told WHYY he prevented Sims from speaking on the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage because he couldn't allow comments that were an "open rebellion against God's law." Per NewsWorks:

"I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God's law."

Sims later said on the House floor that he would never call another member a bigot or a homophobe, but asked the legislature to recognize Metcalfe's language didn't live up to the standards of the assembly.

The House didn't censure Metcalfe's comments, but other Republicans were reportedly "infuriated" with his statements, according to NewsWorks.