The House Floor Just Broke Into Chaos After Congressman Tried to Play Audio of Detained Children

He refused to stop until the sergeant-at-arms was eventually called in.

Speaking from the House floor, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Friday protested the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance immigration policy by playing a recording of migrant children inconsolably crying for their parents at the border.

“If the Statue of Liberty could cry, it would cry today,” Lieu said before turning to the devastating audio, which was first obtained by ProPublica Monday and has since been widely shared.

The California congressman continued, calling on his fellow lawmakers to try to imagine the horrors of what it would be like to have the government split their own families. “What must that sound like?” Lieu asked. 

Less than a minute into the recording, presiding officer Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.) interrupted to try and stop Lieu. “The gentleman will suspend,” Handel said. 

When asked for a reason, Handel accused Lieu of breaching decorum. 

“Cite the rule, madam speaker.” 

“Rule 17 of the House that prohibits the use of that device…the gentleman will suspend the use of the device,” she responded, growing visibly frustrated. “It is in violation of rule 17.”

The tense exchange continued until Lieu eventually yielded after Handel called in the sergeant-at-arms. 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest