WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives on Tuesday evening approved a resolution to condemn President Donald Trump’s controversial remarks directed at four freshman progressive Democratic congresswomen of color that many considered racist.
The resolution passed 240-187.
All Democrats voted yes, as did four Republicans and Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. The Republicans are Reps. Susan Brooks (Ind.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Will Hurd (Texas) and Fred Upton (Mich).
The six-hour debate reached its climax after Democrats voted to allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to continue to proceed in order on the floor after she described Trump’s remarks as “racist.” Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia loudly objected to her characterization and moved to have her remark stricken from the record.
House rules prohibit members from engaging in personal attacks directed at the president.
But Pelosi did not back down, and the members eventually voted to retain her words on the record.
The resolution reaffirms America’s constitutional commitment to freedom of religion and emphasizes the country’s historical precedent as a haven for oppressed people around the world. It contains quotes from speeches Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan gave in which they praised the cultural and economic contributions of immigrants to the U.S.
The resolution “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘go back’’ to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as ‘invaders,’ and by saying that Member of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”
Trump tweeted Sunday that the lawmakers, all of whom are outspoken opponents of the administration, should return to their countries of origin. He has since double-downed on that claim.
The lawmakers are Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.).
Omar, who is black, is a naturalized citizen who was born in Somalia and came to the U.S. as a teen. Tlaib is of Palestinian descent and was born in Detroit. Pressley is African-American; she was born in Cincinnati and reared in Chicago. Ocasio-Cortez is of Puerto Rican descent and was born in the Bronx. Tlaib and Omar are the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
Trump’s remarks have provoked accusations of racism from both the mainstream media and Democrats. Several Republicans condemned the remarks but most defended Trump and said the remarks were not racist.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held a brief news conference Tuesday afternoon in which he called for calmer heads to prevail.
“From the president to the speaker to freshmen members of the House, all of us have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse. Our words do matter. We all know politics is a contact sport, but it’s about time we lowered the temperature all across the board. All of us ought to contribute to a better level of discourse,” McConnell (Ky.) said.
He pointedly declined to condemn Trump’s remarks and instead defended him.
“The president’s not a racist. The president’s not a racist,” McConnell said.
Trump has stringently denied accusations of racism.