A member of Hawaii’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia has been kicked out of the group after she was caught on national television on Tuesday giving the middle finger as U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz announced Hawaii’s delegate counts for Hillary Clinton.
Hawaii Democratic Party Chair Tim Vandeveer said he tried to give the Bernie Sanders supporter another chance by having her apologize, but Chelsea Lyons Kent refused.
“She was unwilling to do so,” he said in a press release. “Therefore, her floor credentials have been revoked for the duration of (the) convention and she will no longer be a part of our delegation.”
Vandeveer said that Kent’s gesture was “inappropriate and not in keeping with the conduct becoming of a national delegate or member of the Democratic Party.”
“Delegates of both campaigns have expressed their shock and disappointment at the incident and have asked me to stress that this in no way reflects the sentiments of the rest of our delegation, regardless of their candidate affiliation,” he said.
The Democratic Convention has been roiled by protests from Sanders supporters, who booed when the unsuccessful presidential contender praised Clinton during a speech on Monday. On Tuesday, Sanders supporters walked out of the convention hall in protest after Sanders officially lost the nomination.
Hawaii has been a hotbed for Sanders supporters. Sanders, who was backed by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, achieved a landslide victory in Hawaii during the Democratic preference poll in March, winning 70 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 30 percent. On Tuesday, Sanders received 19 delegate votes to Clinton’s 15.
Kent was one of the lead volunteer organizers in Hawaii for Sanders.
In a May editorial in the Star-Advertiser in anticipation of the local Democratic convention, she questioned whether the party establishment would make room for the new crop of progressive Sanders supporters.
“Will the party regulars make room at the table for the new Bernie members? Can we build a party of inclusion that fights for change?” she wrote. “Can we recognize our differences, while still working together on those goals we do share? Will we be a party of inclusion or exclusion?”
The reaction to Kent’s gesture on Facebook was mixed.
“I see this photo as iconic … the perfect capturing of an historic, political moment,” Robin Founder wrote on Kent’s Facebook page. “You are smart, you know corruption is real and you said (expletive) to it.”