Rep. Dan Crenshaw perfectly described the craziness that was on display Tuesday afternoon in the House of Representatives as “pure political theater.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi, usually the epitome of process and upholding the rules of the House, allowed herself to be swept away in her disgust with President Trump, only to find the House session devolve into chaos. That chaos led to her being ruled out of order and she was (briefly) forbidden from speaking on the House floor for the rest of the day. Go to your room, Nancy, and think about what you have done.
Crenshaw is right, of course. The drama in the House Tuesday was the kind of made-for-television drama that only Hollywood could aspire to write. Proving that Washington, D.C. is Hollywood on the Potomac, Pelosi allowed a vote on a resolution to condemn President Trump as a racist over some tweets. Tweets. Truth is stranger than fiction these days.
Pelosi erred in her overwrought speech leading up to the vote. She went too far when she labeled Trump’s tweets as racist. It turns out that it’s a no-no to call a president, any president, a racist on the floor of the House. Her own behavior was ruled out of order and announced by her right-hand man, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced the parliamentarian’s decision against Pelosi, stating that by calling the remarks by Trump racist, she had violated the House’s rules.
“The chair is prepared to rule. The words of the gentlewoman from California contain an accusation of racist behavior on the part of the president. As memorialized in Chapter 29, Section 65.6, characterizing an action as racist is not in order,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on the floor ahead of the vote.
“The chair relies on the precedent of May 15, 1984, and finds that the words should not be used in debate,” he continued.
The House vote was 240 – 187, with four Republicans voting with the Democrats. Independent Justin Amash also voted yes. The four Republicans are Rep. Hurd (TX), Rep. Upton (MI), Rep. Fitzpatrick (PA), and Rep. Brooks (IN). Rep. Brooks is not running for re-election. It was a symbolic vote to virtue-shame President Trump and a fund-raising vehicle.
The largely symbolic resolution that passed Tuesday evening resolves that the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” It now moves to the GOP-controlled Senate, which isn’t expected to take it up.
Add this toothless resolution to all the other votes taken by the Democrats in the House that go nowhere. Since the Democrats took back majority control of the House last January, there is no signature legislation to point to for them to tell the folks back home. All too often, they simply dwell on their hatred of President Trump and let personal attacks override the actual work of Congress. This resolution and what followed is a perfect example of the state of Congress.
Crenshaw voted no on the resolution.
This was pure political theater meant to add fuel to the fire. It went far beyond POTUS’s comments, instead was riddled with hyperbolic and unrelated language.
That’s why I refused to vote for it and will continue to refuse to engage in juvenile politics. https://t.co/WU6vmcUWKT
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) July 17, 2019
As he noted in a tweet the day before, he checks Twitter daily to comment on the latest craziness. He said that no, Pelosi is not a racist and that President Trump shouldn’t suggest the women leave the country. In the current political atmosphere, he’ll never lack for something to tweet about.
I check if there’s a crazy comment I have to weigh in on daily. Rhetoric in politics is out of control.
•CBP agents aren’t Nazis running concentration camps.
•Pelosi isn’t racist.
•POTUS shouldn’t suggest Congresswomen should leave because of their rhetoric.
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) July 15, 2019
Granted, the silencing of the Speaker of the House on the floor was quite unusual, but the most incredible part of this drama, for me, was when the chair was vacated by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri. It was a move I have never seen, that’s for sure, in all my years of being a C-SPAN junkie. He left in disgust over the bitter partisanship and bickering seen during the debate. He noted that the opportunity to escalate is taken too often. He’s over it.
“We want to just fight,” Cleaver, a pastor, said, balling his fists to demonstrate the exchanges. Then, in a move that House veterans said they had never seen before, he declared, “I abandon the chair,” put down the gavel and strode off.
Cleaver is normally a mild-mannered man who often talks about civility and both sides working together. He has a page on his House website devoted to his reflections and tweets on Fridays about the subject.
“Our differences only become virtuous when we discuss them with civility and statesmanship,” he writes on his website. “When we allow hyperpartisanship to control the conversation, what once was a virtue becomes the downfall of a divided nation.”
The problem for Democrats like Cleaver is that the far-left of his party has no intention of being civil or working with anyone but themselves. All you have to do is watch an interview with one of the Squad, or all four of them, as I did when I saw a part of their interview this morning with Gayle King on the CBS morning show. They proudly said they make no attempts to even speak with Speaker Pelosi. It is a show of weakness on Pelosi’s part, in my opinion, that she lets herself get in the middle of all the craziness as she did with this resolution. She desperately wants to keep control of the House in 2020 and she is reading the writing on the wall – regular American voters don’t like the Squad.