House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi applauded Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., who was admonished Wednesday for wearing a "hoodie" sweatshirt during a speech in memory of Trayvon Martin, a teenager who was killed in February.
"I think that Bobby Rush deserves a great deal of credit for the courage he had to go to the floor in a hoodie, knowing that he would be told he was out of order," Pelosi told reporters Thursday. "He quickly left the floor, he wasn't contentious about it. But he made his point. He called attention to a situation in this country that needs to be addressed in a way a man in a suit and tie might not be able to do."
Rush began a speech on the House floor Wednesday morning in a suit, but removed his jacket and pulled a hood over his head. He was asked to leave the floor shortly after, because he was in violation of House rules that forbid headgear in the chamber. The stunt was meant to draw attention to Martin, who was wearing a similar sweatshirt when he was shot.
Pelosi added that while she thought members of the House should "serve with dignity," she suggested that some of the rules of attire should be changed.
"This I think falls into the fairly irrelevant, but all of us have a responsibility to serve with dignity," she said. "And yes, if you're going to enforce it, enforce it. But don't be selective about it. I still wonder why women can't wear hats on the floor."
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- Bobby Rush