Demings, who spent 27 years with the Orlando Police Department, heatedly accused Jordan of ignorance about law enforcement, sparking a shouting match with the Republican.
The exchange underscores the deep divisions in Congress over attempts to change policing in the wake of Floyd’s death, with Democrats facing a steep battle in the Senate to overcome GOP opposition to an expansive law enforcement overhaul package named for Floyd.
Tuesday’s argument came during a debate over another piece of legislation, the Covid-19 Hate Crime Act, which seeks to address a surge in racist attacks against Asian Americans in part by providing funding to law enforcement agencies to respond to hate crimes.
Demings took her Republican colleagues to task over a proposed amendment that would prevent efforts to defund police — an effort that some racial justice protesters embraced last summer. Demings called the amendment “completely irrelevant” because the bill makes no mention of defunding law enforcement.
“I served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years,” she said. “It is a tough job, and good police officers deserve your support.”
She then questioned the GOP’s motives for the amendment.
“You know, it’s interesting to see my colleagues on the other side of the aisle support the police when it is politically convenient to do so,” Demings said. “Law enforcement officers risk their lives every day. They deserve better.”
Jordan then began to interrupt Demings, igniting a yelling match between the two lawmakers and leaving Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the committee’s chairman, striking his gavel several times in an effort to restore order.
Demings then shot back at Jordan, saying, “Mr. Jordan you don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.”
“I know about my motive,” Jordan said.
After Nadler restored order, Demings accused Republicans of hypocrisy over the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, when police officers were “fighting for their lives because of the big lie that was told,” referring to Donald Trump’s false accusations of a stolen election.
Jordan, an outspoken Trump loyalist, was among several Republicans who supported the former president’s claims.
“My colleagues on the other side of the aisle were silent,” she continued. “As one person after another person took the microphone and said, ’Go down there and engage in combat,' ‘fight like hell.' They used the bicycle racks as deadly missiles against the law enforcement officers that you all say you care about so much.”