WASHINGTON ― House Republicans grilled Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards for five hours on Tuesday, and the message was obvious: They wanted to do all the talking themselves.
The point of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing was to talk to Richards about the organization’s use of federal funds. It went mostly like this: Republican asks question. Richards starts to respond, and Republican interrupts and asks question again. Richards starts to respond, and Republican interrupts and demands answer. Richards starts to respond, and the chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), interrupts to move to next questioner.
Chaffetz set the tone by cutting off Richards all through his opening questions. He asked about an instance in which he said Planned Parenthood gave $200,000 to an advocacy group in 2013.
“I’m not familiar with that exact payment, but I’m happy to ― “ Richards said before Chaffetz interrupted.
“Well, you gave them $200,000. If you don’t know, you’re running this organization,” he said.
“Sir, I ― sir, I ― excuse me, sir,” Richards said, trying to respond.
“No. Hold on,” Chaffetz interrupted again. “No. No. Hold on.” He talked through his question and eventually moved on to a new one.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) accused Richards of saying something she never actually said. She was in the middle of saying that Planned Parenthood’s position is that “we trust women to make decisions about their pregnancies” when Gowdy interrupted.
“Ms. Richards, I appreciate the way you like to frame the issue, that you’re the reasonable one and those of us who have a contrary position are not reasonable,” he said.
“I didn’t say that,” Richards said.
“No, that’s exactly the last answer you gave,” Gowdy responded.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) really took the cake, though. He interrupted Richards several times, and at one point even cut her off as she tried to answer a question and said it was his turn to talk.
“This is my time. This is my time. So don’t interrupt it,” Gosar said.
One GOP lawmaker was quiet. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), a pro-life Republican who once pressured his wife and his mistress to get abortions, gave his Q&A time to someone else.
Watch the video above for highlights from the hearing.