January 25th, 2012
03:55 PM ET
2 years ago

Speaker tells members what not to wear

Washington (CNN) - Just seconds after an emotional tribute to Arizona Democratic Rep Gabby Giffords in the House of Representatives Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner - who got a little choked up in the moment - suddenly felt the need to remind members that there's a dress code on the House floor.

Boehner recovered his composure after embracing Giffords, who had just handed him her resignation letter. He looked around the chamber, and announced, "the chair would remind all members to be in proper business attire when you come to the floor of the House."

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It was unclear which House members Boehner was calling out, and the moment -broadcast live on CNN among other news outlets– felt a little jarring since it came immediately after a series of heartfelt tributes from several top House Democrats, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

But Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said the Speaker's remark "was a general reminder of the rules of the House."

It was the second time in a week that Boehner spotted members appearing a little too casual on the House floor.

On Monday night, Boehner ran through some of basic rules of decorum on the floor, including the one about proper dress. "Members should wear appropriate attire however brief their presence might be," the speaker said. And to the wardrobe offenders, Boehner said, "you know who you are."

Wednesday's session to say good bye to Giffords and vote on her border security bill was the last one for the week. Some members, including some Democrats who were about to head off to their annual retreat, were tieless. But reporters, and many members, know full well that Boehner - a dapper dresser himself - is quick to pass along his opinion about what not to wear.

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Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Gabrielle Giffords • John Boehner
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Credit where credit is due, Boehner is an elegant dresser.

    January 25, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Surrised he doesn't require all to wear the "man-tan" product he uses to get that unusual orange color.

    January 25, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Will

    Boehner cares MORE about what member wears, than what they accomplish!

    January 25, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Credit where credit is due, Boehner is an elegant dresser."

    Dapper John it is.

    January 25, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Beverly - NYC

    When did he become the Congressional Mr. Blackwell ? Worry about the rude behavior exhibited by some of your colleagues towards the President then worry about the dress code

    January 25, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Stacey

    John Boehner – worst Speaker of the House in U.S. history. Totally useless.

    January 25, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Crocker

    Boehner's timing sucks big time. If you wanna scold, do it at another time.....

    January 25, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. Shorty

    He said legislators should be in "proper business attire when you come to the floor of the House." I didn't know the House of Representatives is a business. Guess that's how Tea/Republicans view government.

    January 25, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Beverly-NYC
    Worry about the rude behavior exhibited by some of your colleagues towards the President then worry about the dress code
    ------------------------
    Quite true Beverly. But we both know THAT's not going to happen.

    January 25, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Daaang people! The man is a good dresser give him credit for that!
    He sucks at everything else, except that and drinking.
    LOL!

    January 25, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. older than dirt

    Rather than comment on the way members dress Why not see that something gets done in Washington this year?

    January 25, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. rufus

    Civility and decorum are particularly important when members have such divergent political views. Boehner and Obama got along well when they played golf last year. Professional differences should not prevent people from remaining cordial.

    January 25, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Vin Dicated

    Perhaps he's speaking of the lady in the garish hot pink blazer? She nearly blinded me but then the camera went back to the Orange man and the job was completed!

    January 25, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. SteveW

    Completely insensitive and out-of-touch.

    January 25, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Expat American

    Boehner is nothing if he is not timely and classy.

    January 25, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Expat American

    Maybe the tie-less members of the house didn’t want to spill their ‘Republican Christian Freedom Fries’ on their cravats.

    January 25, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Shorty - He said legislators should be in "proper business attire when you come to the floor of the House." I didn't know the House of Representatives is a business. Guess that's how Tea/Republicans view government
    =============================================================================================
    They conduct the People's business with regards to governance.

    But just wearing the proper attire isn't enough. Barney Frank should have been called to task for slovenliness.

    January 25, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. T'sah From Virginia

    Well, Romney and/or ginGRINCH were not there; so I guess Boehner was not talking about "Flip-Flops" – LOL. (And I know they won't be there – calm down, it's just a joke)

    Obama 2012!

    January 25, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. Fla Pete

    Forget the dress codes Boehner,teacher them some civility.Too bad something like this has to come around to show everyone's human,a true lose Gabbys resignation.She could teach Boehner how to use his brain first,instead of his mouth.

    January 25, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Jamie from Riverside

    Hopelessly out of touch what priorities should be. Forget civillity, decorum and not calling out rude behavior toward the President by his rude, rube republican collegues. But hey, who is going to call him out for his totally tasteless fashion sense: satin pink ties and orange spray-on tan!

    January 25, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. ART

    Wow he got choked up, he's always chocked up and crying like a baby

    January 25, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Fair is Fair

    "But just wearing the proper attire isn't enough. Barney Frank should have been called to task for slovenliness."
    ----–
    Oh come on, Truth... can you look me in the face and tell me that you're not going to miss classic Barney Frank moments... like when he let one rip in the middle of a live interview with Maddow?

    January 25, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. willie floyd

    Would be nice if he were that concerned about the really important things-respect shown to the pres., accomplishing things rather than arguing all the time.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 25, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Independent in NC

    Who cares what they wear, just get some work done to help our Country.

    January 25, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  25. Phil in KC

    So he gets all choked up, then makes a 90 degree turn and hammers people for not wearing a tie when they're headed out of town and just showed up to vote and say farewell? Jeez, talk about a Debbie Downer.

    January 25, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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