(CNSNews.com) - While some members of Congress brought illegal aliens to President Trump's State of the Union speech last night, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) announced that he was leaving the chair next to him empty, in honor of an Ohio resident who was deported.
The man had been in this country illegally for years, and Ryan said he did not get a "fair hearing."
Ryan told Fox News's Tucker Carlson Tuesday night he's "for border security" to bar drugs and felons from entering the U.S., but he said people who are contributing members of society should be allowed to pay a fine and back taxes to gain legal status.
But Ryan's point was lost on Carlson, who asked Ryan why he didn't leave the seat open to bring attention to Ryan's legally present constituents who have died from drug overdoses, for example; or even for those who are at risk of losing their pensions, which is another issue close to Democrats’ hearts.
"There are a lot of sad situations in Ohio right now," Carlson told Ryan. “Four thousand people died of drug OD's. Four hundred were deported. By a factor of ten, drug abuse (is) a bigger deal, and you're spending your time and the symbolic power you have to honor someone who was deported rather than one of your constituents who died of a drug OD, and I don't understand why. It's a simple question," Carlson said.
"Hey Tucker -- hey Tucker, I've spent more time on the opioid epidemic in my career than you have--" Ryan said, growing heated.
"Not tonight," Tucker interrupted, as the two men spoke over each other.
"So I'm not taking a back seat to you or anybody else on the opioid epidemic," Ryan said. "You tell your president and your party to fund the damn bills we try to put forth to make sure that these people can get treatment--"
"Let me just say, I may agree with you on some of that," Carlson said. "But you've got a chance to send a symbolic message and you're sending it. We know where your priorities are."
"We know where your priorities are, Tucker! Do something about it!" Ryan shot back.
"I am," Carlson smiled, cutting off Ryan with the video equivalent of a mic drop.