House Democrats expressed their anger on Wednesday after Democratic Representative Adam Schiff of California received a censure from the House for making false claims about former President Donald Trump. Censure represents the highest level of disapproval of a member’s behavior short of expulsion. The resolution, introduced by Republican Representative Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, passed with a vote of 213-209.
The five Republican members of the House Ethics Committee, who will now review Schiff’s conduct based on the resolution, voted “present.” Republican Representative Ken Buck of Colorado also voted “present.” All House Democrats opposed the censure of Schiff.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy could only read a portion of the censure resolution before being interrupted by Democratic heckling and shouting, causing him to leave the chamber, according to The Associated Press. The scene was described on Twitter by Greg Price of the State Freedom Caucus Network as “Democrats throw a 5-minute temper tantrum in the well of the House chamber as the vote to censure Adam Schiff passes, yelling ‘shame’ at Kevin McCarthy and refusing to allow him to finish reading the resolution.”
According to Axios, Democrats referred to McCarthy as a “spiteful coward” and “weak.” Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York called for his removal from his position. During her remarks to the House, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi characterized the vote as a “puppet show” with Trump as the “puppeteer.”
In her statement to the House, Luna said, “As chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff launched an all-out political campaign built on baseless distortions against a sitting U.S. president at the expense of every single citizen in this country and the honor of the House of Representatives,” as reported by CBS News.
The resolution stated that Schiff “has spread false accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.” It also highlighted his perpetuation of false allegations from the Steele Dossier in the March 20, 2017, Congressional Record. Additionally, the resolution criticized Schiff’s dishonest and dishonorable behavior, including publicly denying that his staff communicated with a whistleblower to initiate the first impeachment of President Trump.
According to ABC News, only two other House members have been censured since 2000: Republican Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona and former Democratic Representative Charles Rangel of New York.