Multiple Republican lawmakers indicated on Wednesday that they were taking legal action against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her extremely inappropriate behavior at President Trump’s State of the Union Address.
Rep. Matt Gaetz wrote on Twitter: “BREAKING: I’m filing an ethics complaint against @SpeakerPelosi for destroying @realDonaldTrump’s State of the Union speech. Her conduct was beneath the dignity of the House, and a potential violation of law (18 USC 2071). Nobody is above the law. She must be held accountable.”
In a letter addressed to Ethics Committee Chairman Democrat Ted Deutch, Gaetz requested that the Committee open an investigation “into Speaker Pelosi’s flagrant violation of decorum, as defined in clauses 1 and 2 of House Rule XXIII, and request a criminal referral for her potential violation of 18 U.S.C. §2071 (Concealment, removal, or mutilation of documents), following President Trump’s recent State of the Union address of February 4, 2020. Her unseemly behavior certainly warrants censure.”
Gaetz added later in the letter, “It is hard to overlook the symbolism of such a gesture — the sense that Speaker Pelosi was utterly dismissive of the President’s achievements, and, more importantly, the achievements of the American people.”
The law that Gaetz suggests Pelosi may have violated is 18 U.S.C. §2071:
(a)Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b)Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Another republican, Rep. Kay Granger introduced a resolution hammering Pelosi for ripping up the document on national television, saying it was “a breach of decorum,” noting that it brought “discredit on the House.”
“Speaker Pelosi’s actions last night were appalling and shameful,” Granger said in a statement. “Regardless of her personal feelings, she had a responsibility to conduct herself with civility as the presiding officer representing the House of Representatives. She is not the Speaker of the Democrats, but of the People’s House.”
“Not only were her actions disrespectful of the Office of the President and the millions of Americans who elected President Trump, they were a slap in the face to the American heroes and their families he honored in his address,” Granger continued. “The privileged resolution was introduced under Rule 9 of the standing rules of the House. It is expected that the House will vote on the resolution later this week.”
Rep. Paul Gosar also added that he was introducing a resolution censuring Pelosi for her childish actions.
“In response to her classless outburst, I’ve decided to introduce a resolution to censure & condemn Speaker Pelosi,” Gosar tweeted Wednesday. “In a new low, she violated the Code of Official Conduct requiring Members ‘behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.’”
In a follow up interview with The Washington Examiner, Gosar said, “It is my honor to represent Arizona’s fourth district, which includes the family of Kayla Mueller. Speaker Pelosi’s petty outburst wasn’t cute or funny, it was a disgusting display of hatred and unbecoming of her office. Speaker Pelosi has proven she doesn’t deserve the speaker’s gavel. She didn’t just rip up a few pieces of paper, she ripped up one of the last Tuskegee Airmen, a child who survived birth at 21 weeks, the morning Mueller family, and a soldiers homecoming.”
Pelosi is in for a taste of her own medicine here as she faces an immense amount of pressure from the other side of the isle.