GOP Blocks Democrat From Mentioning Trump’s Indictments on House Floor

Rep. Jim McGovern was sanctioned on the House floor for listing out the various indictments and criminal allegations against the former president

Republican lawmakers in the House have recently been skirting their legislative duties to make unholy pilgrimages to Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York. They’re now using whatever time they do spend legislating to silence references to the former president’s many ongoing legal issues on the House floor. 

On Tuesday, House Republicans voted to strike down comments made by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) during a floor debate. What was McGovern’s great parliamentary offense? Pointing out that the former president is facing a myriad of criminal indictments, and has already been found liable for sexual assault in a civil fraud trial. 

“We have a presumptive nominee for president facing 88 felony counts, and we’re being prevented from even acknowledging it,” McGovern said. “These are not alternative facts. These are real facts.” 

McGovern went on to list out several of the criminal and civil cases against Trump, including that he is currently “on trial for sending a hush money payment to a porn star to avoid a sex scandal during his 2016 campaign, and then fraudulently disguising those payments in violation of the law,” and that he’s also charged with conspiring to overturn the election and stealing classified material, and that “a jury has already found him liable for rape in a civil court.” 

“And yet, in this Republican-controlled House, it’s okay to talk about the trial but you have to call it a sham,” McGoverrn added. “It’s OK to say that the jury is rigged, but not that Trump should be held accountable. It’s OK to say the court is corrupt, but not [that] Trump is corrupting the rule of law.”

McGovern: And a jury has already found him liable for rape in a civil court. 

Houchin: Take down his words. I demand that his words be taken down. pic.twitter.com/jRFNImfcyP

— Acyn (@Acyn) May 22, 2024

Rep. Erin Houchin (R-Ind.) interjected, demanding that McGovern’s statement be taken down and stricken from the record — a move that would bar McGovern from speaking on the floor for the rest of the day. 

The request to have McGovern sanctioned for his comments brought the House to a standstill for nearly an hour. Tuesday’s Chair Rep. Jerry L. Carl (R-Ala.) ultimately ruled that the statements would indeed be stricken from the record. 

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Carl said that McGovern had “accused the presumed nominee for the office of president of engaging in illegal activities,” describing the words as “offensive” and stating that a presumptive nominee of a party is subject to the same rules of decorum as those that apply to a sitting president — a bold claim considering how often Republicans themselves accuse President Joe Biden of committing crimes.

McGovern’s statement was not a slanderous accusation of criminality, but rather an acknowledgment of the various existing legal proceedings against the former president. 

Carl: The words of the gentleman accused the presumed nominee of the office of president in engaging in illegal activities… Also, as such in section 370 of the manual, the acquisition that the president has committed a crime… pic.twitter.com/hu3WqwqBwU

— Acyn (@Acyn) May 22, 2024

Ahead of Carl’s ruling, McGovern raised several points of inquiry before the floor, asking if it was “correct that members can mention the trial, call it a sham, and question the integrity of the judge, but a reference to the mere existence of that same trial without any characterization, that’s out of order?” 

Carl refused to provide a response. 

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“Has the chair ruled that it is unparliamentary to state a fact?” McGovern asked in a separate question. Carl countered that he was not in a position to determine the “veracity” of remarks made on the floor. 

McGovern responded to the repudiation on X, formerly Twitter, writing: “Republicans just banned me from speaking on the House Floor for the rest of the day because I listed Trump’s trials. I didn’t say he was guilty, I just stated the fact that they exist — and for that I was silenced.” 

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