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Sens. Cruz, Graham, Tim Scott Demand Answers from Smithsonian Over Harassment of Pro-Life Student Group at National Air and Space Museum

  1. WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), is leading a Senate effort to demand answers from Lonnie G. Bunch III, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, about the reported harassment of a pro-life Catholic school group at the National Air and Space Museum.

During the nation’s annual March for Life in Washington D.C., a school group from South Carolina was allegedly harassed by Smithsonian Institute employees at the National Air and Space Museum for their pro-life and human rights affirming apparel, before being expelled from the building. In his bicameral letter, Sen. Cruz demanded the Smithsonian Institute respond to accusations about infringing upon the First Amendment rights of citizens in a federally funded building. Representatives Chip Roy and Josh Brecheen are leading the effort in the House of Representatives.

Additional signers include Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and James Lankford (R-Okla.).

In the letter, the Senators and Representatives state:

“As Members of Congress, we are unaware of any laws, rules, or regulations prohibiting members of the public from wearing pro-life hats inside Smithsonian office buildings. As a federal entity and the recipient of more than $1 billion in federal funds every year, there should be no debate as to whether the First Amendment applies to the Smithsonian. We are deeply concerned about this unjust expulsion of young Americans from museums—subsidized with taxpayer dollars—for wearing apparel that your staff disagreed with.”

Sen. Cruz and the others signatories demanded the following information from the Smithsonian Institute’s secretary:

  1.     Were you made aware of the alleged incident said to have occurred on January 20, 2023?                                              a. If so, when were you made aware of the incident?
  2.  Has the Smithsonian conducted any internal investigations into the allegations?
  3. Please provide the names of the Smithsonian employees whose conduct is in question.
  4. What disciplinary action has the Smithsonian taken regarding this incident?                                                                            b. If no action has been taken, please provide what course of action the Smithsonian plans on taking regarding this incident.
  5. Does the Smithsonian have any policy prohibiting pro-life sentiments from being expressed in its buildings or any policy deeming it a “neutral zone?”
  6. What efforts have you taken to ensure that the First Amendment rights of all Americans are respected at the Air and Space Museum and an incident like this never occurs again under your leadership?

A copy of the letter can be found here.