House chairman drops gavel, ‘abandons chair’

National

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – A dramatic fight on the House floor over an objection by Republicans to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks criticizing President Donald Trump’s tweets delayed for more than an hour the chamber’s debate over a resolution condemning Trump’s words.

During a floor speech, Pelosi said Trump’s tweets against Democratic Congresswomen of color were “disgraceful and disgusting and the comments were racist.”

She said Republicans should join Democrats in condemning “the president’s racist tweets” and to not do so would be “a shameful abdication” of lawmakers’ oath of office.

Rep. Doug Collins said Pelosi’s words should be stricken from the House record, a rare procedural move. But its importance was escalated in a fight that pits Democrats against the president.

In an unusual move, Democratic Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, who was overseeing the debate, stormed away from the presiding officer’s chair, saying, “We don’t ever, every want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate, and that’s what this is. I dare anybody to look at any of the footage and see if there was any unfairness. But unfairness is not enough because we want to just fight. I abandon the chair.”

The House then voted 232-190 against striking Pelosi’s comments from the record, as Republicans had demanded.

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(This story was originally published on July 16, 2019)

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