Democrat reads letter on House floor calling Trump supporters "racist" and "dumb"

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Rep. Marcia Fudge, a Democrat from Ohio, read a letter on the House floor Tuesday that was written by one of her constituents —who mince words about President Trump and his supporters. Fudge said Pastor Dr. Ronald S. Williams wrote the letter, in which he calls Trump supporters "racist" and "dumb."

"Mr. Williams asks the question: 'A mobster, a conman, gangster in the White House? I think so,'" Fudge said as she began to read the letter on the House floor. Williams lives in Ohio's 11th district, which Fudge represents. The pastor expressed frustration that Congress hasn't acted on the findings of the Mueller report.

"The question is, why hasn't the United States Congress started a formal impeachment investigation," Williams' letter read. "Are we truly one nation under God?"

During today’s Special Morning Hour, I shared a letter from an OH-11 constituent concerning the current administration. Watch the video to view the full floor speech. pic.twitter.com/D3yx7lDECP

— Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (@RepMarciaFudge) June 11, 2019

Williams criticized House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, writing that he respects her, but her hesitancy to impeach Trump is based on polls and her belief that it would polarize the country. "However, the country is already polarized, which could be greatly contributed to the madness of the present executive administration of this country.

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In his letter, Williams calls Mr. Trump a "dictator," who is "sexually condescending to women," would not oppose the resurgence of the KKK and other hate groups, and hides behind his Twitter account. "And to put icing on this cake, he is a proven liar," Williams' letter read.

Williams also leans in to his criticism of Trump supporters. "It is glaringly apparent that many who support the president's administration are either racists, steeped in religious beliefs, ignorant, or as my mother used to say, just plain dumb," Fudge read from Williams' letter.

Fudge managed to squeeze in the last few words of Williams' letter as her time on the floor ran out. Then, she felt the wrath of a fellow lawmaker.

"Remarks and debate may not engage in personalities towards the president, including by repeating remarks made elsewhere that would be improper if spoken in the member's own words," advised Rep. Marc Veasey, a Democrat, who was presiding over the House at the time. "Personalities" appears to be a reference to a House rule stating that members should focus their debate on issues, not the personality of an opponent.

"Are we in order here, or what are we doing?" Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon said. Fudge tried to dismiss his remark, but Bucshon doubled down. "No, you're out of order," he said.

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, reads a letter from a constituent on House floor calling Trump supporters "racist" and "dumb." She then sparred with Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Indiana, over House rules.

When Bucshon again told Fudge "you're out of order," she responded, "And so are you." Veasey called the House to order.

Fudge shared a video on Twitter of her reading of the hotly contested letter. Fudge had presented the letter during the House's "morning hour" in which any member is permitted to speak on any topic.

There are several decorum rules about speaking on the House floor. Anyone who addresses the chamber must "rise and respectfully address the Speaker," according to House clerk's office. And "remarks in debate (which may include references to the Senate or its Members) shall be confined to the question under debate, avoiding personality" — as Veasey noted.

According to the House rules, if anyone violates the rules, the Speaker must call to the House to order and the House member in question must immediately sit down. That task would have fallen to Rep. Veasey, who was temporarily presiding at the time and thus tasked with fulfilling the role of the Speaker.

Fudge is not the first Democrat to call for the impeachment of President Trump. While the majority of Democrats in the House do not support opening an impeachment inquiry against the president, a growing minority are pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to do so. That list has grown to about 57 Democratic representatives — and one Republican, Rep. Justin Amash.

First published on June 12, 2019 / 10:40 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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