Pandemonium Overtakes House as Nancy Pelosi Violates Chamber’s Rules, Trump Rebuke Backfires

Pandemonium Overtakes House as Nancy Pelosi Violates Chamber’s Rules, Trump Rebuke Backfires

Pandemonium overtook the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon and early evening as a Democrat-led effort to rebuke President Donald Trump over his criticisms of socialist lawmakers backfired badly with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi violating the rules of the chamber.

Amid the chaos, which undercut the Democrats’ message, the Democrat charged with running it literally abandoned the control of the House floor for a moment, something aides say they have never seen before and are unsure if it has ever happened in history–all as the Democrat Party struggled for hours with how to handle clear violations of House rules by their Speaker, Pelosi.

This account of what happened on the floor comes from interviews with members and staff present on the House floor during these proceedings, and from conversations with others in touch with officials present as the Democrats’ big anti-Trump parade was rained out by all the craziness.

It was the first time since the mid 1980s that a sitting House Speaker was successfully challenged like this on the House floor, when then back-bencher Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA)–who would years later become the Speaker–challenged then-Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-MA) in 1984:

May 15, 1984: Speaker Tip O’Neill’s words were taken down when he answered Representative Newt Gingrich (R-GA) on the floor concerning the Speaker’s decision to order the cameras to pan the chambers during Special Orders on May 10, 1984. pic.twitter.com/IPTVN8flxk

— CSPAN (@cspan) July 16, 2019

The last time something similar happened was 35 years ago, when words from then-Speaker Tip O’Neill about a rabble-rousing young Georgia congressman – Newt Gingrich – were struck from the record after being deemed too personal #gapol

— Tamar Hallerman (@ajconwashington) July 16, 2019

When the Spkr last had rheir words taken down with Tip O’Neill in the mid-80s, he parliamentarian rules the Speaker’s use of “lowest” when referring to the conduct of the minority, constituted inappropriate language and words were taken down.

— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 16, 2019

Members were on the floor debating a resolution condemning Trump for his tweets about the so-called “squad,” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

On Sunday, President Trump tweeted:

So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019

Trump doubled, then tripled dow in future tweets and a press conference at the White House:

So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion. Whenever confronted, they call their adversaries, including Nancy Pelosi, “RACIST.” Their disgusting language…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019

….and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged. If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior, then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019

When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019

If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019

The tweets caused a firestorm in the media and in American politics, leading to a Monday evening press conference where “the squad” responded to Trump:

Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker who had been battling with members of “the squad” before Trump’s tweets as Democrats even leaked internal polling data to Axios showing how toxic Ocasio-Cortez and Omar are to swing voters and came out swinging behind them against Trump–blasting the president, who had unified Pelosi and her radical socialist leftist wing of her conference once and for all.

That was not enough of a response for the Democrats, who then planned a vote on a resolution on the floor of the House on Tuesday to bash Trump even more and officially label him a racist.

The resolution, rolled out early Tuesday, officially called the tweets “racist”:

The House will vote this evening on a resolution “Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress” https://t.co/DmnGanU3S3 pic.twitter.com/hNdGA89A0a

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) July 16, 2019

Trump fired back in tweets of his own in the lead-up to the vote, saying explicitly they were not racist:

Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show “weakness” and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat…..

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019

…..Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country. Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said. Omar is polling at 8%, Cortez at 21%. Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party. See you in 2020!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and several House Republicans, backed Trump up:

Kevin McCarthy @GOPLeader, “The President’s Tweets were not Racist. The controversy over the tweets is ALL POLITICS. I will vote against this resolution.” Thank you Kevin!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019

Reporter: Do you think Trump would be more likely to tone down his rhetoric if Republican leaders like yourself spoke out more forcefully?

McConnell: I think everybody ought to tone down

R: But you stopped short of calling his comments racist
M: Well the president’s not racist pic.twitter.com/K2LfO3VjZ0

— POLITICO (@politico) July 16, 2019

.@realDonaldTrump‘s tweets are not racist. Trying to rifle through his tax returns, impeachment talk, abusive subpoenas, and now the silly House resolution — all presidential harassment.

— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) July 16, 2019

Then, later on Tuesday afternoon, as the Democrats took up the resolution on the floor of the House and began debate on it, pandemonium ensued: The sitting Speaker of the House, Pelosi, joined the debate on the floor on the part of the Democrats, and launched into a tirade in which she accused President Trump of having made “racist” remarks.

Pelosi said:

.@SpeakerPelosi: “Every single member of this institution…should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets. 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.” pic.twitter.com/nsskh7TuCS

— CSPAN (@cspan) July 16, 2019

House rules in place since the days of former President Thomas Jefferson–who served in the U.S. House of Representatives before he was elected as the third president of the United States–preclude members from calling the president of the United States “racist.” As such, House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)–who was leading the GOP side of the debate on the floor–jumped up to challenge Pelosi’s comments.

Specifically, the House rules preclude anyone from calling the president a racist:

Much of the consternation among Democrats on the floor seems to be that there is a rule that prevents calling someone a racist. Lots of chatter between the parliamentarians office and Dems about this. pic.twitter.com/XIwoHRl0UC

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2019

At first, Collins offered her the ability to change her remarks–including the claim that Trump made “racist” comments–without a formal challenge using the House rules. She declined, claiming she had cleared her commentary with the House’s parliamentarian before giving the remarks. But that turned out to be untrue.

Collins then made a formal inquiry into whether Pelosi violated the rules of the House, and the business of the U.S. House of Representatives came to a halt for a pause that ended up lasting more than two hours due to a number of hiccups for Democrats over the course of the inquiry.

The Hse vote on condemnation for Trump will be pushed back now because of the Pelosi contretemps and the parliamentary infighting.
The condemnation will be later tonight. This is eating up a lot of time.

— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 16, 2019

While lawmakers huddled with the parliamentarian and House officials to question whether Pelosi’s comments violated the House rules, a senior congressional aide on the House floor at the time told Breitbart News that Democrat members of the House were yelling to their colleagues that the rules of the House were irrelevant. “Their members were openly yelling to ignore the guidance of the parliamentarians,” the aide said.

“They’re not your boss,” the aide said one Democrat was shouting about the parliamentarians. “They’re just advisers!”

The process ended up taking more than two hours, an unusually long time that severely cut into the Democrats’ hopes of a big unified message with the passage of their Trump-rebuking resolution:

It NEVER takes this long to review the conduct or language of a member. This is supercharged because it deals with the resolution condeming President Trump and the fact that this involves the Speaker of the House.

— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 16, 2019

Pelosi, meanwhile, had left the floor of the House to head over to the U.S. State Department’s religious freedom ministerial, where she delivered a stinging rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of Uyghur Muslims held in camps in China. But the fact that she left the floor of the House while the parliamentarian was determining whether her remarks were in order was itself another violation of the House rules:

Pelosi appears to have left the floor..which is a violation of House Rules themselves when someone’s words are taken down. That’s partly could be why this is taking so long. This is not just a rank and file member. This is the House Speaker.

— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 16, 2019

On the kerfuffle on the flr involving Pelosi…When words are taken down, the member accused of using inappropriate language must be seated in the House chamber and wait for the ruling

— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 16, 2019

As the bedlam ensued, the Democrats’ Speaker pro tempore, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), abandoned the chair–something sources present on the floor, many of whom have worked in the House for many years, told Breitbart News they are unsure has ever happened before in U.S. history.

“The fact that Speaker pro tempore Cleaver refused to read the parliamentary guidance and abandoned the chair was extraordinary,” one senior congressional aide who was on the floor for the proceedings told Breitbart News of Cleaver abandoning the chair. “I have never seen that before.”

It may never have happened in U.S. history until now, when Pelosi violated the rules of the House.

“No one here can ever recall that happening before,” the aide added.

Politico’s Jake Sherman called it “unprecedented”:

Well this is unprecedented. Rep. Emanuel cleaver abandoned the chair as he was presiding over the chamber.

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2019

Cleaver, sources familiar say, had abandoned the floor when the parliamentarian asked him to read a paper confirming that Pelosi had in fact violated House rules by calling Trump’s tweets racist, and then proceed to call two votes to the floor to clean up her mess before eventually proceeding to the anti-Trump resolution:

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver — a former Congressional Black Caucus Chairman who was the presiding officer — said something, banged the gavel, then stormed off the floor.

I’m not sure he made an actual ruling. Members on the floor look extremely confused. It was hard to hear him.

— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) July 16, 2019

This is something —> At 4:25 the House came back to order.

Rep Emanuel Cleaver made a brief statement and said “I abandon the chair” and slammed the gavel on the dias and stormed out of the chamber. Still no ruling on if Pelosi’s comments will be taken down.

— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) July 16, 2019

Dem Rep. Emanuel Cleaver abandons the chair, slamming the gavel and storming out of the chamber.

“I’ll 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.”
Via CSPAN pic.twitter.com/PFHdtf8eOc

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 16, 2019

When Cleaver abandoned the chair on behalf of the Democrats–one senior Republican aide told Breitbart News it was Democrats “abdicating their duty!”–then Democrats installed another Congressional Black Caucus member, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) as a temporary placeholder into the Speaker pro tempore position until they figured out what to do.

In the chair now is Rep. GK Butterfield of North Carolina. Like cleaver, a senior member of the CBC.

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2019

“That caused another 30-minute delay at least,” said one senior congressional aide on the House floor at the time.

McCarthy, the House GOP’s minority leader, had been scheduled to head over to the White House for meetings with President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner on immigration–but he called those meetings off to marshal GOP forces against Pelosi on the floor of the House.

McCarthy is staying on the floor for this parliamentary fight over pelosis speech. https://t.co/UiztLJYfiE

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2019

McCarthy is supposed to be going to the White House but he’s staying here for this very, very rare floor fight.

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2019

Hours into the fight, as Pelosi had long since left the House–again, as mentioned above according to Fox News’ Chad Pergram, in violation of House rules because she was supposed to be present for all of this–House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer came to the floor and took over as the Speaker pro tempore to confirm that Pelosi’s remarks calling Trump’s tweets “racist” were in fact a violation of the rules of the House and were out of order.

Now Hoyer is in the chair, noting that @SpeakerPelosi’s words were out of order.

The house is voting to take down pelosis words. This vote is likely to be party line, and likely to fail.

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2019

Majority Leader Hoyer rules the Speaker’s words are out of order. House now voting to strike the words

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) July 16, 2019

So then, after Hoyer came in to control the floor, and ruled per the parliamentarian that Pelosi’s comments were a violation of the House rules–the normal penalty for which would be barring her from speaking on the House floor for the rest of the legislative day–Hoyer set up a series of votes to make sure Pelosi’s comments in violation of the rules remained in the congressional record and that she would pay no penalty for the rules violation and would be able to speak on the House floor if she wanted to again on Tuesday.

For those just joining us, this is the first time since 1984 (Tip vs Newt) that a Speaker had words taken down. But this House vote would keep them in the Record.

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) July 16, 2019

Pelosi said she had cleared those words with the Parliamentarian, but clearly, they go against what’s in the House precedents pic.twitter.com/ReG0Gob6nV

— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) July 16, 2019

BREAKING NEWS —> Speaker Pelosi just broke the rules of the House, and is no longer permitted to speak on the floor of the House for the rest of the day.

— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) July 16, 2019

The facts are clear: the House rules of order and decency were broken by the very person tasked with upholding them—the Speaker of the House. But just now, Democrats voted to ignore the rules and give special treatment to one of their own.

— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) July 16, 2019

On party-line votes, Democrats all voted to put Pelosi above consequences of breaking the rules–and voted to keep her out of order comments in the congressional record.

When the debate for the original resolution condemning Trump resumed, McCarthy took the floor and ripped Pelosi apart in a fiery speech of his own on the House floor:

Democrats have turned the House of Representatives into a weapon of political theater. They aren’t interested in legislation. They’re only here for retribution. https://t.co/ul3IWPrUp8

— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) July 16, 2019

House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) also came to the floor to rip the Democrats for allowing Pelosi to break the rules without consequence:

Democrats just decided the rules don’t apply to them. They voted to let Nancy Pelosi break House rules to personally harass @realDonaldTrump. That’s beneath the dignity of Congress. The American people deserve better than this Democrat foolishness. pic.twitter.com/nERGF3kC0Z

— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) July 16, 2019

Several other members joined in criticizing Pelosi for breaking the rules:

Every single member of this institution, especially its Speaker, should recognize the rules of the House.@SpeakerPelosi knows better than to make such disparaging remarks about the President on the House floor. https://t.co/awzn3M3kw0

— Lance Gooden (@RepLanceGooden) July 16, 2019

As the debate continued, then, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)–who just dropped out of the 2020 presidential race–then made inflammatory comments of his own:

Swalwell went on a riff about the president*’s various racist statements being racist and said, “Talking about shithole countries is racist.” Then old Collins from Georgia objected and we were off on another vote about taking words down.
CSpan is very awesome today.

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) July 16, 2019

As Collins challenged him, too, just like he did Pelosi, Swalwell and the Democrats stood down–and withdrew the comments to avoid another hours-long battle:

Swalwell withdraws “shithole.” More uproar.

— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) July 16, 2019

After Swalwell’s screwup, which came in the wake of Pelosi’s massive disaster, the Democrats moved to quickly end the floor debate without even finishing up all their allotted time and moved quickly to the final vote. They pushed the vote on the anti-Trump resolution through on mostly party lines, as only four Republicans joined all the Democrats in voting for it–capping a disastrous day for Democrats in the House.

“The Democrats didn’t use their full time,” a senior congressional aide on the floor told Breitbart News. “They wanted to yield back and avoid further snafus. The day definitely did not go smoothly or as planned for the Democrats.”

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