One of Pennsylvania’s most notorious lawmakers let loose in a homophobic rant on Facebook Friday. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) lashed out at several of his past critics, including “lying homosexual” Rep. Brian Sims (D) and “constant touchy-feely” Rep. Matt Bradford (D) — a reference to an incident last December when Metcalfe’s homophobia was on grand display. In the rant, he also admitted that he uses his position as chairman of the House State Government Committee to block all legislation brought by Democrats.
The rant seems to have been provoked by another Democratic lawmaker who had a troubling interaction with Metcalfe. Last week, Rep. Chris Rabb (D), a freshman lawmaker from Philadelphia, submitted a letter to House officials indicating that he felt Metcalfe had threatened him. In a heated disagreement about last-minute changes to a redistricting bill, Metcalfe allegedly told Rabb, “We’d have a very different conversation on the street.” Rabb said that he perceived this as a threat of violence and also noted that “it is widely rumored that Rep. Metcalfe carries a firearm on him inside of the Capitol complex.”
Incidentally, House GOP spokesman Steve Miskin originally responded to Rapp’s letter by saying, “They poke and prod to get reaction out of the chairman and we are not playing that game. The chairman is not playing that game.” But judging from Metcalfe’s Facebook rant, the chairman very much is playing that game.
The “profanity” Rapp reportedly used was “bullshit.” Before Metcalfe had even published his rant, Rapp, who is African American, addressed concerns about his language. “The problem that I have with people like Daryl Metcalfe is they pretend to be upstanding and they believe that because they don’t curse, their vulgarity is any less awful,” Rapp said. “Their vulgarity is the racist policies and the rhetoric that they spew.”
It’s not known for sure whether Metcalfe actually carries a weapon, but he has been a fervent opponent of gun violence prevention. After the Parkland shooting, he criticized the “students” (in quotation marks) who were lobbying for gun control measures, implying that he believed the conspiracy theories that the students were actually crisis actors.
In the rant, Metcalfe claims former Rep. Leslie Acosta (D) lied about him, calling her “now convict Acosta.” While it’s true that Acosta resigned after it came to light that she had secretly pleaded guilty to money laundering, that doesn’t excuse how Metcalfe treated her. In 2015, he introduced an “English-only” bill that would have required all of Pennsylvania’s state and local government records to be in English. When Acosta — an immigrant who was the state’s first Latina legislator — disagreed, Metcalfe actually cut off her mic to silence her. Acosta told ThinkProgress at the time, “This is overt racism in the 21st century.”
Metcalfe’s friction with Sims, Pennsylvania’s first openly gay lawmaker, dates back years. In 2013, after the U.S. Supreme Court’s first same-sex marriage ruling (overturning parts of the Defense of Marriage Act), Sims attempted to speak about the significance of the decision. Metcalfe invoked a House rule to cut him off, openly admitting it was because of his religious beliefs. He thought Sims’ comments “would have been an open rebellion against Almighty God and God’s word, against God’s law.”
Last summer, Metcalfe also called Sims “emotionally unhinged” after he allegedly called him an “ignorant, racist bigot” for supporting an anti-sanctuary cities bill. In fact, Metcalfe recorded a video about the incident, calling Sims’ reaction “blatant liberal intolerance from the radical left.” He insisted, “We must continue to defeat the left, defeat unruly progressive mobs, and defeat all other enemies of liberty.”
Metcalfe’s encounter with Bradford occurred this past December. Bradford touched him on the arm during a committee meeting, and Metcalfe blew up in an overly defensive reaction about his sexuality. “Rep. Bradford, look, I’m a heterosexual,” he said in the viral clip. “I have a wife, I love my wife, I don’t like men as you might but stop touching me all the time. Keep your hands to yourself. If you want to touch someone, you have people on your side of the aisle who might like it. I don’t.” In a follow-up interview with PennLive.com, Metcalfe defended bringing up sexuality because “the homosexual side brings up their sexuality continually and it’s supposed to be accepted in our culture that they can talk about their homosexuality all the time.”
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party was quick to condemn Metcalfe’s latest Facebook rant. According to executive director Sinceré Harris, “Daryl Metcalfe’s public admission that he is a partisan hack who abuses his power at the expense of making government better for Pennsylvanians is absolutely disqualifying.”