Iowa lawmaker targets anti-Trump protesters with ‘Suck it up, Buttercup’ bill

Posted at 11:20 AM, Nov 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-15 13:20:21-05

WILTON, Iowa -- Republican Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann is borrowing a saying for disgruntled farm hands to describe legislation aimed at anti-Trump protests.

"I have named the bill, 'Suck it up, Buttercup'," he said on Monday.

It's inspired by recent gridlock on Interstate 80 when drivers had to wait during a post-election protest.

The proposal is grabbing national attention and requests for interviews, sparking thousands of online comments.

"You've got a right to be a brat," he said.  "You've got a right to protest, that's constitutionally protected.  But you do not have a right to throw a temper tantrum on I-80 and put my constituents' lives in danger."

Kaufmann wants the House Oversight Committee to clarify state laws and look into fining Iowa colleges for any tax dollars spent on so-called "Cry Rooms" for students upset over the election results.

"Using our tax dollars when tuition rates are skyrocketing is absolutely unacceptable to me," he said.

But Iowa Rep. Phyllis Thede says the proposal threatens free speech.

"I don't want to go after somebody because they're fearful, upset or angry," she said.  "That's not what legislatures do."

Kaufmann thinks the bill will have traction in Des Moines early in the 2017 session.

Thede disagrees and calls it "kind of odd."

"The legislature can be a leader," she continued.  "Not by restricting them, not by criminalizing them, but by helping them -- helping them get through the whole process."

For Kaufmann, his farm saying could motivate a national movement.

"People say, 'Suck it up, Buttercup, that's kind of over the top,'" he concluded.  "But so are the protests that are happening."