WASHINGTON — The hoodie furor has reached the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, where a Democratic congressman was removed from the House floor on Wednesday after wearing a hoodie while giving a speech about slain Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, and a former Black Panther and civil rights leader, took off his suit jacket and pulled the hood of a gray hoodie over his head and said, “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”
Trayvon Martin, 17, was wearing a hooded sweatshirt when he was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Last week, FOX News’ Geraldo Rivera made national headlines after he suggested that Martin, who was unarmed, was partially to blame for the shooting because he was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.
On Wednesday, Rivera issued an apology for the remarks on POLITICO.
“I apologize to anyone offended by what one prominent black conservative called my ‘very practical and potentially life-saving campaign urging black and Hispanic parents not to let their children go around wearing hoodies,'” said Rivera, who added, “by putting responsibility on what kids wear instead of how people react to them I have obscured the main point that someone shot and killed an unarmed teenager.”
Rush, who spoke during the morning session, was gaveled down by Rep. Greg Harper, R-Mississippi, who was presiding over the House floor at the time. House rules prohibit the wearing of hats in the House chamber while the House is in session.
A House floor clerk led Rush away as the congressman finished his remarks. Rush later told CNN that the purpose of putting on the hoodie was to send a message to young people, “to stand their ground, stand up and don’t stand down.”
“I don’t mind being out of order if it means standing up for truth and justice,” Rush told CNN.