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Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said Wednesday that his embarrassment over what had transpired during Tuesday night's House debate over a resolution to condemn President Donald Trump's recent tweets as racist caused him to drop the gavel and leave the House floor where he had been presiding.
"Frankly, I was embarrassed to remain as the chair presiding over what should have been a very shameful moment for all of us," Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri, told CNN's Alisyn Camerota on "New Day." "And that is, here we were in the House of Representatives, and every person who spoke violated the House rules."
His remarks come after the House voted on Tuesday night to condemn racist language from Trump, capping off a tumultuous couple of hours on Capitol Hill including a brief time in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was barred from speaking in the chamber.
Pelosi violated House rules with her choice of words condemning Trump's racist language, leading to a dramatic series of events ahead of the vote, including Cleaver's abandonment of the chair.
House rules specifically say members can't say that a President has made a bigoted or racist statement, which Republicans argued Pelosi had done. However, members are also not allowed to attack the personalities or character of members, senators, or the President on the House floor, which Cleaver implied that Republicans had done.
Cleaver noted his frustrations as he tried to keep House proceedings nonpartisan.
"I had been calling balls and strikes all day and all of a sudden, let's escalate it," Cleaver said on Tuesday night, describing what had happened. "It's one of those moments where you realize that people have come here for the purpose of conflict, being engaged in conflict as opposed to getting something done."
Cleaver had harsh words for the President too, saying, "I think the whole world is at a standstill because of the President's tweet. ... We spend the day waiting on the next tweet, and I think we're doing great damage to this republic."