House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) scolded a Republican representative who shouted “go back to Puerto Rico!” during Rep. Tony Cardenas’s (D-CA) speech on the shutdown.
“I would hope that we could refrain from any implications which have any undertones of prejudice or racism or any kind of -ism that would diminish the character and integrity of one of our fellow members,” Hoyer said.
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) January 17, 2019
The House floor erupted Thursday after an unidentified Republican congressman yelled a potentially racially charged remark across the aisle as Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas was at the podium. For the record, Cardenas is from Los Angeles, and it is unclear if the remark was made in a racist spirit, or a reference to the delegation of Democrats who traveled to Puerto Rico last weekend to inspect the Hurricane Maria recovery effort.
Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and other Democrats in the chamber demanded to know who shouted the comment.
Cárdenas walked over to the Republican side of the aisle and huddled with some GOP lawmakers, but none stepped forward to admit they had shouted the remark.
“It came from the other side of the chamber. … We don’t know who it is,” Jackson Lee said.
“I would hope maybe privately the individual would go to Mr. Cardenas and appropriately apologize,” Jackson Lee said.
“We’ve been called names and been told to go back to Mexico, go back to whatever, so many times,” Rep. Sylvia Garcia said. “It’s just unfortunate that it would happen on the floor of the House of Representatives.”