"The gentleman will suspend"

Every presidential scandal/crisis creates memorable words that enter history.

For Nixon they were, “I am not a crook” and “What did the president know and when did he know it?”

For Bill Clinton, they were “I did not have sex with that woman.”

In the Donald Trump impeachment battle, it perhaps will be a little early to declare what words will live in history. Nonetheless, I will submit these:

“The gentleman will suspend.”

These words were repeatedly used against Republican by Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrod Nadler as he ruled

His lordship, Chairman Nadler.

His lordship, Chairman Nadler.

Republican questions and objections as out of order during his hearings on Trump’s impeachment.

He can use them to cut off Republicans under Roberts Rule of Order, the widely accepted  parliamentary guide for conducting meetings. The rules give the committee chairman (elected by the committee’s Democratic majority) wide range to allow what can or can’t be discussed.

Republicans were raising, under the rules, such points as raising  a question of privilege,  fixing the time to which to adjourn  and plenty more. 

It’s a way of a committee member asking the chairman, “Hey, I’ve got a question over here. Can we talk about it?”  Almost without exception Nadler cut off Republicans when they raised such questions with the expression, “The gentlemen will suspend,” meaning that the questioner’s time is up and he should shut up. He used it so often that it should become Trump’s impeachment watchword.

The chairman’s decision in some cases can be overruled by a vote of the committee, but since Democrats control it, Nadler’s ruling would be supported.

Obviously, Republicans are using these objections to portray just how prejudiced the committee and Democrats are as they rush toward a pre-determined impeachment. It’s a good ploy by Republicans and it indeed makes Democrats deservedly look bad and unfair.




My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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  • The word "gentleman" has anything to do with all this? The mind boggles.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Especially when the Republicans were not acting gentlemanly at all.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Putting up a defense of the President is not gentlemanly? Odd opinion. Maybe something you disagree with, but everyone is entitled to a defense.

  • I'm almost all boggled out. "Hey you wearing the ugly purple tie. Ya, you." might be more appropriate. Remember the Democratic congresswoman or senator who was mightily offended by an admiral or general who called her "Ma'am" during a congressional hearing? Ma'am is a term of respect, especially in the military; she took it as an attack on feminism. Sigh.

  • The words that will live in infamy are : "I would like you to do us a favor though".

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Quite right.

  • fb_avatar

    For me the memorable words for history was what Obama whispered to Medvedev “Tell Putin this is my last election ... After my election I have more flexibility” .

  • In reply to Herbert Caplan:

    Good one. The most forgotten words for the mob that wants to prove that Trump colluded with Russia.

  • A motion to suspend the rules is in order on Mondays and Tuesdays and towards the end of a session of Congress and may only be made by the Speaker of the House or their designee, though it is customary for committee chairs to write the Speaker requesting a suspension check myprepaidcenter balance

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