The House of Representatives voted Tuesday to formally condemn President Donald Trump's "racist comments" that were directed at four congresswoman of color, who he told to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Four Republicans joined Democrats in a 240-187 vote that was largely split along party lines, despite pressure on conservative lawmakers to condemn the president's comments.
The four Republican lawmakers who joined Democrats in condemning Trump's comments as racist included: Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and retiring Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). Amash recently began caucusing as an Independent after writing a July 4th op-ed announcing he was leaving the GOP.
While the House resolution did not explicitly call Trump a racist, it did refer to his "racist comments" twice within the text:
"Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the House of Representatives - 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 Members 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's comments about "The Squad" - Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) , Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) - were largely condemned as racist. Three of the congresswomen were born in the United States, while Omar, moved to the United States when she was 12-years-old as a Somali refugee.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Trump's comments "disgraceful" and "racist" which led to Republicans requesting that her words be stricken from the record.
"These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist," Pelosi said. "Every single member of this institution — Democratic and Republican — should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people."
At one point, the fight over Pelosi's comments between Democrats and Republicans became so intense, that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), who was presiding over the House floor during the debate, abdicated his post.
"We don’t ever, ever want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate. That’s what this is," Cleaver said. But, despite his efforts to remain fair, he said. “fairness isn’t enough. We want to just fight."
"I'll abandon the chair," Cleaver said, rapping the gavel and walking away from the dais.
Trump praised Republicans on Wednesday, saying it was "great to see how unified the Republican Party was..."
"So great to see how unified the Republican Party was on today’s vote concerning statements I made about four Democrat Congresswomen. If you really want to see statements, look at the horrible things they said about our Country, Israel, and much more. They are now the top, most visible members of the House Democrats, who are now wedded to this bitterness and hate. The Republican vote was 187-4. Wow! Also, this was the first time since 1984 that the Speaker of the House was ruled Out of Order and broke the Rules of the House. Quite a day!"
Trump ignited the firestorm of controversy with a series of Tweets on Sunday, writing that it was "so interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run."
"Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," the president continued. "Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can't leave fast enough. I'm sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!"
All four of the congresswomen Trump appeared to be referring to are American citizens. Three of them were born in the United States, while Omar moved to the United States when she was 12-years-old as a Somali refugee. Known as 'The Squad', the progressive lawmakers have bucked their party and criticized Trump and his administration's actions on the border and with immigration.
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