Over 100 congressional staffers who work for Democrats protested in front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, calling for Israel to halt its bombing of Gaza City, where Hamas terrorists have imprisoned 240 Jewish hostages. The staff members wore masks and laid flowers for the fallen terrorists and others who have died in the Hamas-Israel war. A handful of them read statements. Others held signs calling for a ceasefire in Israel.
Israel’s response to a deadly surprise attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 has been wholehearted and devastating to Gaza City, which is now, according to satellite footage, more than one-quarter destroyed by the Israeli Defense Forces artillery response.
Estimates are that over 9,000 Gaza residents, nearly all Palestinians, have died in the war, which rages on. Some Israeli fighters have also died during the war, and the body count on each side is far from certain. The original Hamas attack took the lives of 1,400 Israelis.
The staffers, however, were waging their own wars — against their bosses.
“Most of our bosses on Capitol Hill are not listening to the people they represent,” said one mutinous staffer. “We demand our leaders speak up, call for a cease-fire, a release of all hostages, and an immediate de-escalation now.”
Some of the congressional staffers who participated may have had the blessing of their congressional member. A separate photo from Wednesday shows a group of the most radical members of Congress, inlacing Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Pramila Jayapal, without masks, standing in apparent solidarity.
But it’s unusual for a staffer or bureaucrats to insert themselves into an active and dynamic political situation, rather than what has always been viewed as a 24-7 job of supporting the representative.
The sit-in staffers were, in fact, disrupting diplomatic efforts, and elevating their own political views into the news cycle.
Congress has the power of the declaration of war, and to have congressional staffers pre-empt their own members by trying to steer the deliberative process in a public leveraging may have been a first in congressional history.
“Being a (good) congressional staffer comes with sacrifices. One of the biggest being: keeping your own political views to yourself and supporting your boss 100% of the time. You have no right to use your boss’ position to elevate your own political views. Nobody voted for you. If I was a member of Congress and found out one of my staffers was participating in a ‘staffer walk out’ they could keep on walking to another job,” said one former Hill employee.
Another said, “Nobody has a bigger ego than congressional staffers. Instead of desperately trying to make everything about them… they could literally just go back inside and convince their bosses to support a ceasefire. Like… they have direct access to elected officials.” They can already influence policy in a way that few other Americans can.
There are also consideration of the ethical violations, if any of the mutiny was organized or carried out on official time, or if taxpayers paid for any of the signage or materials used to stage the event.
More than 60% of the staff members of the House of Representatives are under the age of 35, according to the Federal Managers Association. The congressional offices, indeed Congress itself is being run by these individuals, who were raised and educated in increasingly radicalized schools of America that infuse them with the Maoist theory of “continuous revolution.”