An Idaho Republican state senator has been labeled a “bully” after ranting at college students who traveled hundreds of miles to discuss a birth control bill with lawmakers.
State Sen. Dan Foreman also has been slapped with an ethics complaint for an incendiary follow-up tweet sent from an account allegedly associated with him.
The tense exchange between Foreman and about a dozen University of Idaho students was captured on camera Monday. Video circulating on social media shows Foreman forcefully pointing his finger and belligerently saying “abortion is murder” to the students, who say they didn’t come to discuss abortion at all.
Foreman’s diatribe was “unhinged,” said Paul Dillon, public affairs director of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, which is affiliated with the student group. “Even if you disagree with what we have to say, there’s no excuse for that kind behavior. He was being a bully,” Dillon told AP.
The students, who traveled from their college campus in Moscow to Boise to meet with Foreman and other lawmakers, were in the capitol to lobby for two bills ― one that allows women to receive up to a 12-month supply of prescribed birth control, and another that updates the state’s decades-old sex education law, reported the Idaho Statesman.
The student group had scheduled a morning meeting with Foreman, but the senator reportedly canceled at the last minute. The students say they left a note and some condoms at his office before moving on to meet with other lawmakers.
“We drove 7 hours to make it to our SCHEDULED 9 a.m. meeting,” the message read, noting that the lawmaker was “not doing [his] job” by blowing them off.
The students later saw Foreman in the hallway, triggering the stormy exchange.
“I’m a Roman Catholic and a conservative Republican. I think what you guys are doing stinks,” Foreman told the group, according to the video. He added that he would call law enforcement if the students ever tried to visit his office again.
A Twitter account that appears to be associated with Foreman later tweeted about the incident. One tweet urged the University of Idaho students to “stop harassing me and staff.” Another told them to talk about “killing babies” with Democratic Sen. Maryanne Jordan of Boise.
Jordan told the AP on Monday that she filed an ethics complaint against Foreman for the inflammatory tweet.
“It’s one thing to disagree with policy, it’s another thing to position something like that against another lawmaker. This type of behavior is beneath the Idaho Senate,” Jordan said.
The Twitter account, which had the handle @SenDanTheMan, was deleted after the complaint was filed. According to the Statesman, it was briefly reactivated on Monday night with a tweet saying that the account was a “parody” one. The account was later deactivated again, and remained down early Tuesday.