House Democrats blocked an attempt to have Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s speech in which she called several of President Trump’s tweets “racist” stricken from the House record after fireworks erupted on the floor over her remarks excoriating the president.
“Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets,” Pelosi said in an impassioned speech, referring to a resolution condemning Trump’s tweets in which he tells several progressive congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from if they are unhappy with the U.S.
“Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color,” the resolution reads.
Democrats have rallied around the four Democratic congresswomen in question, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, who have shot back at the president that he is a racist.
“To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. I urge a unanimous vote,” Pelosi said on the floor.
Republican congressman Doug Collins immediately asked the speaker if she would care to “rephrase her comment,” to which Pelosi responded she had “cleared my remarks with the parliamentarian before I read them.”
Collins then requested a point of order that Pelosi’s remarks were “unparliamentary and her words be taken down.”
After over an hour of consideration, Democratic presiding chair Emanuel Cleaver abandoned the chair in frustration.
“We don’t ever, ever want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate, and that’s what this is,” Cleaver said. “We want to just fight. I abandon the chair.”
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer eventually took over the chair and said Pelosi’s remarks were found “not in order,” but Democrats prevailed in a subsequent vote on striking them from the House record, meaning they will remain.
“Characterization characterizing an action as racist … should not be used in debate,” Hoyer said.
Pelosi doubled down on her remarks before the vote.
“I stand by my statement,” she told reporters. “I’m proud of the attention that’s being called to it because what the president said was completely inappropriate against our colleagues, but not just against them, against so many people in our country.”