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Notice of Intention to Offer Resolution Raising A Question of the Privileges of the House

Floor Speech

Date: July 23, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GOHMERT. Madam Speaker, pursuant to clause 2(a)(1) of rule IX, I rise to give notice of my intention to raise a question of the privileges of the House.

The form of the resolution is as follows:

Raising a question of the privileges of the House:

Whereas, on July 22, 2020, House Resolution 7573 was brought to the House floor for a vote with the purpose of eliminating four specific statues or busts from the United States Capitol, along with all others that include individuals ``who served as an officer or voluntarily with the Confederate States of America or the military forces or government of a State while the State was in rebellion against the United States,'' yet failed to address the most ever-present historical stigma of the United States Capitol; that is, the source that so fervently supported, condoned, and fought for slavery was left untouched, without whom, the evil of slavery could never have continued as it did, to such extreme that it is necessary to address it here in order for the U.S. House of Representatives to avoid degradation of historical fact and blatant hypocrisy for generations to come.

Whereas, the Democratic Party Platform of 1840, 1844, 1848, 1852, and 1856 states: ``That Congress has no power under the Constitution to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several States, and that such States are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the Constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists, or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery . . . are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences; and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend of our political institutions.''

Again, from the Democratic Party Platform of those years.

Whereas, the Democrat Party Platform of 1856 further declares that new States to the Union should be admitted ``with or without domestic slavery, as the State may elect.''

Whereas, the Democratic Party Platform of 1856 also resolves that ``we recognize the right of the people of all the territories . . . to form a Constitution, with or without domestic slavery.''

Whereas, the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 penalized officials who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave and made them liable for a fine of $1,000, which is about $28,000 in present-day value. Law enforcement officials everywhere were required to arrest people suspected of being a runaway slave on as little as a claimant's sworn testimony of ownership. The Democratic Party Platform of 1860 directly, in seeking to uphold to Fugitive Slave Act, states that ``the enactments of the State legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.''

The Democratic Party Platform again.

Whereas, the 14th Amendment, giving full citizenship to freed slaves, passed in 1868 with 94 percent Republican support, 0 percent Democratic support in Congress; the 15th Amendment, giving freed slaves the right to vote, passed in 1870 with 100 percent Republican support and 0 percent Democratic support in Congress.

Whereas, Democrats systematically suppressed African Americans' right to vote, and by specific example in the 1902 constitution of the State of Virginia actually disenfranchised about 90 percent of the Black men who still voted at the beginning of the 20th century and nearly half of the White men.

So they suppressed Republican voters as well.

The number of eligible African-American voters were thereby forcibly reduced from about 147,000 in 1901 to about 10,000 by 1905; that measure was supported almost exclusively by Virginia Democrats.

Whereas, Virginia's 1902 constitution was engineered by Carter Glass, the future Democratic U.S. Representative, Senator, and Secretary of the Treasury under Democrat President Woodrow Wilson, who proclaimed the goal of the constitutional convention as follows: This Democrat exclaimed: ``Discrimination! Why, that is precisely what we propose. That, exactly, is what this Convention was elected for--to discriminate to the very extremity of permissible action under the limits of the Federal Constitution, with a view to the elimination of every,'' and I won't use his word, but African-American ``voter who can be gotten rid of legally,'' which was said by a Democrat and applauded by his fellow Democrats.

Whereas, in 1912, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson's administration began a racial segregation policy for U.S. Government employees, and by 1914, the Wilson administration's civil service instituted the requirement that a photograph be submitted with each employment application.

Whereas, the 1924 Democratic National Convention convened in New York City at Madison Square Garden; the convention commonly was known as the ``Klan-Bake'' due to the overwhelming influence of the Ku Klux Klan in the Democratic Party.

Whereas, in 1964, the Democratic Party led a 75-calendar-day filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Whereas, leading the Democrats in their opposition to civil rights for African Americans was a member of the Democratic Party, Senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia, who was a known recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan.

Whereas, Democrats enacted and enforced Jim Crow laws and civil codes that forced segregation and restricted freedoms of Black Americans in the United States.

Whereas, on June 18, 2020, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the removal from the Capitol portraits of four previous Speakers of the House who served in the Confederacy, saying this these portraits ``set back our Nation's work to confront and combat bigotry''; the men depicted in the portraits were Democrat Robert M.T. Hunter, Democrat Howell Cobb, Democrat James L. Orr, and Democrat Charles F. Crisp.


One, that the Speaker of the House of Representatives shall remove any item that names, symbolizes, or mentions any political organization or party that has ever held a public position that supported slavery or the Confederacy, from any area within the House wing of the Capitol or any House office building, and shall donate such item or symbol to the Library of Congress.

Two, that any political organization or party that has ever held a public position that supported slavery or the Confederacy shall either change its name or be barred from participation in the House of Representatives.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.