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. 

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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