Derrick Van Orden
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Wisconsin's 3rd district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2023
|Preceded by||Ron Kind|
Derrick Francis Van Orden
September 15, 1969
|Education||Excelsior University (BS)|
|Branch/service||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1988–2014|
|Rank||Senior Chief Petty Officer|
|Unit||United States Navy SEALs|
Derrick Francis Van Orden (born September 15, 1969) is an American politician, businessman, actor, and retired United States Navy SEAL who is the U.S. representative for Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. Mr. Van Orden gained notoriety in 2023 after a night of drinking, verbally abused a number of Senate Pages, who were lying on their backs taking photographs of the inside of dome of the US Capitol Rotunda, as part of a customary end-of-session ritual. 
Van Orden served in the United States Navy SEALs from 1988 to 2014.
Van Orden was the Republican nominee for Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district in the 2020 election, narrowly losing to incumbent Democrat Ron Kind. He was nominated to run for the seat again in the 2022 election, and won, narrowly defeating Democratic state Senator Brad Pfaff and flipping the district from Democrat to Republican for the first time since 1994.
Van Orden participated in the January 6th "Stop the Steal" rally and was present at the United States Capitol during the January 6 United States Capitol attack.
According to Punchbowl News, Van Orden was giving a tour for several dozen visitors around midnight on the evening of July 26, 2023, when he happened upon Senate pages (who are all 16 or 17 years old), lying on the floor of the Rotunda, taking photos of the interior of the Capitol dome; NBC News later reported that this is a traditional activity for the pages to commemorate their last week of service. Punchbowl News also reported that the Senate Rotunda is the work location where pages are directed to sit awaiting instructions while the Senate is in late-night session, as it was that night. Van Orden "cursed out the pages...calling them ‘lazy shits’ and told them to ‘get the fuck up’ off the floor" and reportedly screamed at them "inches from the pages' faces," and then said, "I don’t give a f---who you are. I’m a congressman."
It was later reported that Van Orden had been partying loudly at an event in his office where alcohol was being served, prior to yelling at the pages, and several news outlets reported that he had bottles of alcohol on desks and in trash cans in his office earlier that evening as part of a party with 50 constituents.
Van Orden's behavior was condemned by his fellow Republicans, including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Thom Tillis, who said, "This is inexcusable and embarrassing behavior for a member of Congress or any adult for that matter. The Congressman should do the right thing and apologize." Republican House Member Chip Roy later took a photo of himself on the floor of the Senate Rotunda in support of the pages.
Van Orden is an actor, appearing in Act of Valor (2012), Surviving the Wild (2018) and Running with the Devil (2019). He opened the Butternut Cafe in Butternut, Wisconsin, in 2017.
On June 17, 2021, Van Orden confronted a teenaged library page at Prairie du Chien Memorial Library in indignation over a display of books with LGBT themes assembled for Pride Month. Van Orden was particularly upset by the book A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, about a fictional day in the life of Marlon Bundo, the real-life pet rabbit of former Vice President of the United States Mike Pence, and the rabbit's subsequent same-sex romance. Van Orden submitted a written complaint to the library that the book was "skewing young people to think that Republicans are not inclusive. This book is not informational, it is propaganda". A staff member described Van Orden as "very uncomfortable, threatening" with "full-on shouting" and "aggressively shoving the books around". He wanted to know who had established the display so he could "teach them a lesson". Van Orden subsequently withdrew all the books on display out of the library and then returned them within a week.
On August 27, 2021, Van Orden was arrested at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after attempting to carry a fully-loaded SIG Sauer handgun through a security checkpoint. He initially pleaded not guilty, but later waived his rights and pleaded guilty. The court ordered Van Orden to pay fines and complete a gun safety program. He was placed on one year's probation on December 28, 2021.
During his first term, he received negative national media coverage for screaming profanities at Senate pages resting in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.
Van Orden was born in Minnesota. He and his wife, Sarah Jane, have four children and eight grandchildren. He is a Protestant. Van Orden holds a degree from Excelsior University, a private online university.
|Republican||Derrick Van Orden||36,395||65.9|
|Democratic||Ron Kind (incumbent)||199,870||51.3|
|Republican||Derrick Van Orden||189,524||48.6|
|Republican||Derrick Van Orden||65,164||100|
|Republican||Derrick Van Orden||164,743||51.82|