Charleston – Following accusations by a West Virginia delegate that Delegate Brandon Steele, R- Raleigh, appeared intoxicated and attempted to intimidate him during an argument over a bill, Steele has confirmed there was an argument, but added that no one was threatened or intoxicated. 

“The legislative process is a difficult one and there’s a lot of disagreements,”  Steele said. “Myself and Porterfield had a disagreement. We did get into a verbal argument. Nobody was threatened. Nobody was touched or anything like that, and most certainly nobody was intoxicated. We had just left a committee meeting.”

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported that on Tuesday, Delegate Eric Porterfield, R- Mercer, asked his colleagues to take action over the incident.

“We’re here to make laws,” Porterfield, who is blind, said during his speech, according to the Gazette-Mail. “We’re here to do things the right way. ...If I had treated someone with a disability — a member of this House with a disability the way I was treated last night, I would want someone to take action against me. I think there needs to be further action taken on this.” 

“I would like to see the same members in my own caucus that were so active to try to censure me last year for comments made to have enough integrity to look at that option here,” Porterfield said Tuesday. “These things cannot be tolerated.”

Last year, Porterfield used an anti-gay slur during a committee meeting and called “the LGBTQ” a “modern version of the Ku-Klux Klan.” On WVVA, he also said if he had gay kids, he’d “see if (they) could swim.”

Steele described the incident as “nothing more than a verbal disagreement, for which I’ve apologized to him for.”

Porterfield asked that all bills be read in their entirety on Wednesday morning, leading to an unusually long floor session. Typically, bills are explained in lieu of being read in their entirety.

“I think what it amounts to is a child’s tantrum,” Steele said. “There is no rhyme or reason to it.” 

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