Fed up with partisan bickering on both sides of the aisle, presiding member of the House and Democratic representative of Missouri Emanuel Cleaver threw in the towel on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, House Democrats and Republicans convened to decide whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s remarks were “in order” regarding President Donald Trump’s racist Twitter storm attacking Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar.
Pelosi condemned Trump for his “racist tweets,” sparking tense partisan debate, and a successful House vote to censure the president with the support of only four Republicans.
According to Insider, when Republicans moved to strike Pelosi’s comments from the record and described several Democrats as “anti-American,” Rep. Cleaver lost his cool.
“We don’t ever, ever want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate, and that’s what this is. We want to just fight. I abandon the chair,” he said, before tossing the gavel and walking away from the podium.
While presiding in the House, @Repcleaver: "We don't ever, ever want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate, and that's what this is…we want to just fight. I abandon the chair." pic.twitter.com/tEikUaRYPt— CSPAN (@cspan) July 16, 2019
Following Cleaver’s declaration and stunning exit from the House floor, Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina presided over the remainder of the session.
Soon after, House members voted on a motion to strike Pelosi's comments, which failed in a 190-232 vote. An additional vote was conducted to determine whether Pelosi was allowed to speak for the next 24 hours; that motion passed.
Cleaver is the co-chair of the House Civility Caucus. After his walkout, Cleaver said he’s “increasingly frustrated with the childish rancor of our public discourse,” in a statement.
“I call on all of my colleagues and all of America to listen more and talk less, to show compassion for those who are in pain, and to resist the temptation to fight when others wish to escalate."