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. 

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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