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After the House voted 415-14 to make Juneteenth the U.S.’s newest federal holiday, South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman took to Fox News Radio on Thursday to explain his opposition to the observance.
The Republican Congressman said voting in opposition “was an easy no vote” and questioned if a holiday would now have to be established for Native Americans, as well.
During the program “Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla,” Norman also cited the number of existing holidays in detailing his rejection of a federal holiday for Juneteenth, while alleging that supporters were using “race” as an issue, Business Insider reports.
“There’s one Fourth of July. There’s one birthday … Independence Day is Fourth of July. And I had a lot of negativity on it. But this was an easy ‘no’ vote,” he said. “The fact that they would try to make race a part of it, it had nothing to do with race.”
“How many holidays do we want? What’s the magic number? This would put it to eleven,” Norman added. “Do we want twenty? Are we going to do one for the Native American Indians? I mean, where does it stop?”
Since the bill was previously passed by unanimous consent in the Senate, its next stop was to President Joe Biden, who on Thursday signed it into law.
Juneteenth is the first national holiday that has been established in the U.S. since the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in 1983, Business Insider reports.
“All Americans can feel the power of this day, and learn from our history,” Biden said at a ceremony at the White House on Thursday. “I said a few weeks ago, marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. Great nations don’t ignore their most painful moments. They don’t ignore those moments of the past. They embrace them. Great nations don’t walk away. We come to terms with the mistakes we made. And in remembering those moments, we begin to heal and grow stronger.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also reaffirmed the historical significance of the Juneteenth at the White House on Thursday.
“We are footsteps away from where President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” she said. “We have come far and we have far to go, but today is a day of celebration. It is not only a day of pride. It is also a day for us to reaffirm and rededicate ourselves to action.”