Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)  on House floor

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) delivers remarks on the House floor on Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

(Photo: Screenshot/C-SPAN)

'Guess I Hit a Nerve': McGovern Rebukes 'Pathetic' GOP for Striking Remarks About Trump

"In their creepy cult-like devotion to Trump, House Republicans won't allow anybody to say anything they deem as negative about him on the floor," said the Democratic congressman after his remarks were stricken. "So much for freedom of speech."

Congressman Jim McGovern had a few additional disparaging words Thursday for his GOP colleagues, a day after factual remarks about former president Donald Trump he made on the House floor were formally stricken from the record by Republicans who control the gavel.

"I guess I hit a nerve," McGovern said in an early morning post on X.

"In their creepy cult-like devotion to Trump," added the Massachusetts Democrat, "House Republicans won't allow anybody to say anything they deem as negative about him on the floor. So much for freedom of speech. Like I said yesterday—pathetic!"

Explaining the situation in a social media thread on Wednesday evening, McGovern detailed how earlier in the day Republicans in the House "moved to 'take down my words,' a procedural term meaning they think I violated the rules and that my words should be stricken from the record. Why? Because I stated facts about Trump's trials."

Watch the clip showing McGovern's remarks and the reaction it received:

Posting a complete transcript of his remarks, McGovern said: "Read them yourself. Whether you love Trump or hate him, I was simply stating facts about his legal problems. I didn't say he was guilty or innocent. I didn't disparage him. I was stating facts."

And here's what he said:

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

A candidate for president of the United States is on trial for sending ahush 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. He's also charged with conspiring to overturn the election. He's also charged with stealing classified information, and 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." It's okay to say that the jury is rigged, but not that Trump should be held accountable. It's okay to say the court is corrupt, but not that Trump is corrupting the rule of law.

As the Washington Postreported, the House "was brought to a halt for over an hour" after Republicans objected to McGovern's remarks, including one lawmaker, Republican Congresswoman Erin Houchin of Indiana, who declared, "Mr. Speaker, I demand that his words be taken down."

At the time of the procedural altercation, it was Rep. Jerry L. Carl (R-Ala.) presiding over the House floor and holding the Speaker's gavel who first admonished McGovern as he told members they must refrain from attacks directed toward "presumed nominees for the office of the president," in this case Trump.

After an hour of deliberation with the clerk and members of the GOP-controlled Rules committee, Carl went back to the lectern to announce that McGovern's words, in his judgement, were a violation of an archaic House rule that originally was conceived to prevent, as the Post reports, "House members from criticizing the king."

Carl argued it was "a breach of order to refer to a candidate in terms... personally offensive." While Trump is not technically the Republican nominee for president at this point, and won't be until the RNC convention this summer, Carl argued the rule also applies "once there's no reasonable dispute that the candidate will receive the nomination."

Following this announcement, McGovern's remarks were ordered stricken and he was barred from speaking on the House floor for the remainder of the day.

"Apparently, Republicans are allowed to say [on the House floor] that Trump's trial is a sham, and the judge is corrupt and the jury is rigged," McGovern said in his Wednesday evening post. "But it's against the rules for me to even acknowledge that the trials exist."

"But look," he added, "I get it."

"Republicans don't want Americans to know the truth about the man they support. I will keep speaking the truth," said McGovern. "They can try to shut me up, but they will fail. They don't want Americans to know the truth about the man they support. We need to make sure everyone hears it."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.