Derrick Van Orden
Van Orden in 2022
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 3rd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Preceded byRon Kind
Personal details
Born
Derrick Francis Van Orden

(1969-09-15) September 15, 1969 (age 53)
Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationExcelsior University (BS)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1988–2014
RankSenior Chief Petty Officer
UnitUnited States Navy SEALs
Battles/wars

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.[1] 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. [2]

Career

Van Orden served in the United States Navy SEALs from 1988 to 2014.[3]

Political involvement

Van Orden was the Republican nominee for Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district in the 2020 election, narrowly losing to incumbent Democrat Ron Kind.[4] 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.[5][6]

January 6th

Van Orden participated in the January 6th "Stop the Steal" rally[7] and was present at the United States Capitol during the January 6 United States Capitol attack.[8][9]

Incident with Senate pages

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.[10] 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.[11] Van Orden "cursed out the pages...calling them ‘lazy shits’ and told them to ‘get the fuck up’ off the floor"[12] 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."[10]

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.[13][14]

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."[10] Republican House Member Chip Roy later took a photo of himself on the floor of the Senate Rotunda in support of the pages.[10]

Other work

Van Orden is an actor, appearing in Act of Valor (2012),[15] Surviving the Wild (2018) and Running with the Devil (2019).[citation needed] He opened the Butternut Cafe in Butternut, Wisconsin, in 2017.[16]

LGBT library book incident

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.[17] 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".[18] 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".[17] Van Orden subsequently withdrew all the books on display out of the library and then returned them within a week.[17]

Controversies

Gun Arrest

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.[19] He initially pleaded not guilty, but later waived his rights and pleaded guilty.[19] 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.[19][20][21]

Yelling at Senate Pages

During his first term, he received negative national media coverage for screaming profanities at Senate pages resting in the U.S. Capitol rotunda.[13][14]

Personal life

Van Orden was born in Minnesota.[22] He and his wife, Sarah Jane, have four children and eight grandchildren. He is a Protestant.[23][24] Van Orden holds a degree from Excelsior University, a private online university.

Electoral history

2022 Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district results by county

2020

2020 Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district Republican primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Derrick Van Orden 36,395 65.9
Republican Jessi Ebben 18,835 34.1
Total votes 55,230 100.0
2020 Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district general election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ron Kind (incumbent) 199,870 51.3
Republican Derrick Van Orden 189,524 48.6
Write-in 224 0.1
Total votes 389,618 100.0

2022

2022 Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district Republican primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Derrick Van Orden 65,164 100
2022 Wisconsin's 3rd congressional district general election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Derrick Van Orden 164,743 51.82
Democratic Brad Pfaff 152,977 48.12
Write-in 202 0.06
Total votes 317,922 100.0

References

  1. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF).
  2. ^ Stieb, Matt (July 28, 2023). "GOP Congressman Defends Cursing Out No-Good Teens at Capitol". Intelligencer. Retrieved August 7, 2023.
  3. ^ "Derrick Van Orden". Ballotpedia. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  4. ^ Herken, Olivia (August 10, 2022). "Pfaff wins Democratic primary, will face Van Orden for WI 3rd Congressional District". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  5. ^ Andrea, Lawrence (November 9, 2022). "Republican Derrick Van Orden defeats Brad Pfaff in Wisconsin's 3rd District, flipping seat". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  6. ^ "Derrick Van Orden". Ballotpedia. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  7. ^ "In Wisconsin, voters shrug off GOP candidate's Jan. 6 tie". AP News. October 16, 2022. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  8. ^ Solender, Andrew (August 10, 2022). "Jan. 6-linked Derrick Van Orden wins Wisconsin GOP primary for House seat". Axios. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  9. ^ Van Orden, Derrick (January 13, 2021). "Derrick Van Orden: We need Abraham Lincoln now more than ever". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d "GOP lawmaker 'screamed' curse words inches from Senate pages' faces and 'shooed' them, source says". NBC News. July 30, 2023. Retrieved July 30, 2023.
  11. ^ Weaver, Al (July 27, 2023). "'Jackasses,' 'little s‑‑‑‑': GOP congressman curses out teenage Senate pages". The Hill. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  12. ^ "Punchbowl News". Punchbowl News. July 27, 2023. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  13. ^ a b "Journal Sentinel". www.jsonline.com. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  14. ^ a b "Congressman reportedly cursed out Senate pages from Capitol Rotunda". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ "About". Van Orden for Congress.
  16. ^ Carlson, Seth (June 28, 2017). "Retired Navy SEAL opens Butternut Cafe in downtown Butternut". Rice County Review. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  17. ^ a b c "Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden confronted teen library staffer over Gay Pride display". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Associated Press. August 24, 2021. Archived from the original on August 25, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  18. ^ Herken, Olivia (August 22, 2021). "Library staff felt 'threatened' after GOP candidate complained about Pride Month display". La Crosse Tribune. Archived from the original on August 25, 2021. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  19. ^ a b c "CITY OF CEDAR RAPIDS VS VANORDEN, DERRICK FRANCIS, Case No. 06571CRSMSM133691". Iowa State Courts Online. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  20. ^ Marley, Patrick (May 9, 2022). "Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden fined for having a loaded gun in an airport. He calls the incident a mistake". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  21. ^ Herken, Olivia (May 9, 2022). "GOP congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden fined for having loaded gun in Iowa airport". La Crosse Tribune. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  22. ^ "Rep. Derrick Van Orden - R Wisconsin, 3rd, In Office - Biography | LegiStorm". www.legistorm.com. Retrieved August 6, 2023.
  23. ^ "Religious affiliation of members of 118th Congress" (PDF). Pew Research Center. Retrieved April 8, 2023.
  24. ^ "Faith on the Hill: The religious composition of the 118th Congress". Pew Research Center. Retrieved March 6, 2023.