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Reading Clerk Steals Spotlight in Impeachment Show

To say the word or spell it out? Susan Cole chose to spell one choice word out

Texas Rep. Al Green was the star of the impeachment show Wednesday, but Reading Clerk Susan Cole stole the spotlight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Texas Rep. Al Green was the star of the impeachment show Wednesday, but Reading Clerk Susan Cole stole the spotlight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The latest testament to how unusual this year in Congress has been came Wednesday, when the reading clerk of the House of Representatives spelled out the word “bitch” on the chamber floor. 

It was just part of the theatrics of the day, as the House voted overwhelmingly to kill articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. 

The 368-58 vote on the motion — offered by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — to table the articles of impeachment resolution sponsored by Texas Democrat Al Green was the formal order of business. Despite Democratic antipathy for Trump, many of Green’s mates in the minority voted with Republicans to put the resolution aside, an anticlimatic end to a move Green had been promising to pursue for weeks on end. 

The result was preordained, particularly after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer announced their opposition to Green’s resolution.

Watch: Green’s Impeachment Resolution Is Read on the House Floor

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They released a statement explaining that Trump “has made statements and taken actions that are beyond the pale for most Americans” but counseled their members to let investigations of Trump continue. “Now is not the time to consider articles of impeachment,” they said.

Green pressed ahead regardless.

“I want to thank the many persons, especially my staff, who have assisted in the drafting and crafting of this resolution,” Green said as he introduced it on the floor. 

But Reading Clerk Susan Cole was perhaps not so taken with the “drafting and crafting” and stole the show when she read the text of Green’s resolution, which laid out his case to remove Trump from the highest office in the land.

“On Sept. 23, 2017, Donald John Trump made a public statement substantially as follows — ‘Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say “get that son of a b-i-t-c-h off of the field. He’s fired. He’s fired.”’ Casting contempt on the professional players’ mothers by calling them b-i-t-c-h-e-s, effectively calling these mothers dogs,” Cole said, not breaking stride a bit.

(For the record, Green also spelled the words out.)

Cole and other reading clerks are responsible for the reading of all bills, resolutions, amendments, motions and presidential messages that come before the House, as well as letting the Senate know when there is some House business heading its way across the Rotunda. 

But that doesn’t mean one must actually verbalize the word “bitch.”

Will Weiss contributed to this report

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