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. 

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate