House Democratic leaders attempted to talk Rep. Charles Rangel out of speaking Tuesday on the House floor, according to a lawmaker familiar with the situation.
The Democratic lawmaker — who requested anonymity — told The Hill that House leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), “tried to talk [Rangel] out” of addressing the chamber on the ethics charges that have been lodged against the New York Democrat.
A Democratic leadership aide confirmed high-ranking lawmakers tried reasoning with Rangel, but the aide was unsure if Pelosi herself had talked to the embattled Democratic lawmaker.
It's unclear if Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) or Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) led the effort to persuade Rangel to reconsider.
Shortly after the speech, which lasted more than 30 minutes, Hoyer said Rangel had the right to address the chamber, but wouldn’t comment on the political ramifications of doing so.
“Every member has a right to express themselves. He availed himself of that right,” Hoyer said, refraining from commenting on whether Rangel helped himself politically.
Hoyer said he didn’t think the “ethics committee is going to be swayed,” by Rangel’s speech.
Clyburn told The Hill he was aware Rangel would give a speech on the floor. He declined to comment on his reaction to the address.
Some Democrats applauded Rangel's speech, but others — particularly those who are politically vulnerable — panned it, with one going so far as to call it a "train wreck."