WASHINGTON — Rep. Bobby Rush went to the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday with two thoughts: a hoodie is not a hat. Nor is it an article of clothing that's a true measure of an individual.
But when Rush, D-Ill., dramatically shed his suit jacket, donned a pair of sunglasses and pulled a hoodie over his head in a show of solidarity with those protesting the handling of the Trayvon Martin case, he was scolded for violating House rules of decorum and escorted from the chamber.
"It's the least I can do to fight for justice for Trayvon Martin and others," Rush told reporters later.
Rush appeared to be conducting House business as usual, one of several lawmakers who took to the floor during the morning hour — a time when members can speak for up to five minutes on any topic they choose.
"Racial profiling has to stop," he said. "Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum. Just because someone is a young black male and wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum."
Almost immediately, Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., presiding over the House, ordered Rush to suspend his remarks.
Rush pressed on.
Harper called for him to be removed for violating Clause 5 of Rule 17 of House rules that forbids hats being worn in the chamber.
"A hood is not a hat, so I kind of stretched the rule," Rush said afterward.