By LEE D. VAN LANDUYT | Hillsboro

Wisconsin Rep. Derrick Van Orden (District 3) has proven that he is unfit for public office. During the wee hours of Thursday morning, July 27, his unchecked temper caused him to lash out at a group of teenage Senate pages in the capitol rotunda. Senate pages are 16- and 17-year-olds who assist senators. When senators work late, as happened Wednesday night, pages are allowed to rest in the nearby rotunda. 

Following Van Orden’s verbal assault, one of the pages wrote down his exact words. “Who the f‑‑‑ are you?” Van Orden asked. One person said they were “senate pages.” Van Orden fired back: “I don’t give a f‑‑‑ who you are, get out!”

He called the pages “jackasses” and “pieces of s‑‑‑,” and told them he didn’t “give a f‑‑‑ who you are.” “Wake the f‑‑‑ up you little s‑‑‑‑. … What the f‑‑‑ are you all doing? Get the f‑‑‑ out of here. You are defiling the space you [pieces of s‑‑‑],” Van Orden bellowed. “You jackasses, get out!” 

The incident, which happened very early Thursday morning, outraged senators who were working that night, calling the string of foul language “horrible.” Further, House members were shocked that Van Orden refused to apologize to the teenagers for his malicious attack. 

Punchbowl News recently reported, “This is not the first time Van Orden has flashed his temper. He reportedly threatened a 17-year-old library page in his home state over a gay pride display and demanded to know who set it up. The page in question had set the display up. She told her parents she did not feel safe to return to the library for work.” 

Who among us would keep our jobs if this sort of temper tantrum and foul language were used at our places of work? I suspect none. As a former teacher, I know I would have been immediately suspended and probably fired in short order. Van Orden unfortunately may keep his House seat until the next election cycle. But next November, he deserves to lose his seat and never hold public office again. He’s shown everyone he is UNFIT.