Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, said on Friday she wasn’t accused of letting zebras loose in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, but sent out a press release about the incident to draw attention to her advocacy for D.C. statehood and removing fencing around the Capitol.
Norton, a non-voting House member, put out a formal statement earlier in the day that said she wasn’t responsible for the loose zebras that were spotted roaming in Prince George’s County, Maryland, just outside of Washington.
“Local news has reported that the zebras were let loose on Saturday or Sunday of last weekend, a period of time during which I was enjoying quiet time at home with family,” read the press release. “My alibi is solid, but given my career of fighting for statehood for the District, which includes years of explaining the importance of having consent of the governed, and given my recent opposition to fences, I can understand why the charge was made.”
National media outlets covered Norton’s press release and some news articles noted that it wasn’t “clear” who accused Norton of letting zebras loose.
The Washington Post’s headline read, “Zebras are on the loose in Maryland. But Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton says she didn’t do it.” The zebras are reportedly still roaming the area.
Just the News asked Norton who made the charge.
“It says the charges were made known, again, playing off of the zebras,” she said during an interview following her press release. “I value the consent of the governed and so there shouldn’t be any charges against these zebras wanting to get free any more than there shouldn’t be any charges here in the District of Columbia, which is seeking consent of the governed with statehood for the District of Columbia.
“That’s all we’re asking for and we got it passed twice. So I mean, all of this entire release is a play on words on statehood and on my most recent work on fences at the Capitol,” she added.
Norton was an outspoken advocate for removing the fencing that surrounded the U.S. Capitol building for months after the Jan. 6 riot took place.
“I couldn’t help but play off of the zebras given what I’m trying to do in the Congress,” she said.