House Republicans, plus Amash, vote to condemn
WASHINGTON – Four of the 197 Republicans in the House of Representative joined Democrats on Tuesday to vote for a resolution condemning the racist tweets that President Donald Trump posted telling a group of minority congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they “originally came from.”
The Republicans who broke ranks to vote for the resolution after their party leadership defended the president’s remarks were Reps. Will Hurd of Texas, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan and Susan Brooks of Indiana. Justin Amash of Michigan, who recently left the Republican Party to become an independent, also voted in support of the resolution.
The resolution, which said Trump’s “racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color” passed by an overall vote of 240-187.
Trump’s tweets on Sunday were widely understood to have been aimed at Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Also known as “The Squad,” the four liberal first-year House members have sometimes stirred controversy and recently engaged in a public dispute with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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All four are American citizens. Omar, who came to the United States from Somalia more than 20 years ago, is the only one of the four not born in the U.S.
Trump strongly disputed the characterization of his remarks as racist and said in a tweet that he doesn’t “have a racist bone” in his body. He said he called out the four congresswomen because they “hate our country.”
Hurd, the lone African-American GOP House member, said Monday that in addition to being “racist and xenophobic,” Trump’s tweets were bad politics because they offered Democrats a reason to unify amid potentially politically damaging internal infighting.
“I think politically it doesn’t help. While you had a civil war going on within the Democratic Party between the far left and the rest of the party, now they have circled the wagons and are starting to protect one another,” Hurd told CNN.
Upton tweeted Monday that he was “appalled” by Trump’s racist tweets.
“There’s no excuse. Inflammatory rhetoric from both sides of the aisle that is used to divide us just isn’t right,” Upton said. “The President’s tweets were flat out wrong and uncalled for, and I would encourage my colleagues from both parties to stop talking so much and start governing more.”
Fitzpatrick compared the divided political atmosphere to the bloody Hatfield and McCoy feud of the 19th century.
“Democrats and Republicans need to start treating each other respectfully and like human beings. We are all created in the image and likeness of God,” he said.
Brooks, who will not seek re-election in 2020, said Trump’s tweets were “inappropriate and do not reflect American values.”
“ALL of our elected officials need to raise their level of civility in order to address the serious issues facing our country,” she said in a statement.
Amash, who has called for Trump’s impeachment for what he believes were acts of obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, called the tweets “racist and disgusting.”
On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the resolution was “all about politics” and refused to condemn the president’s tweets as racist.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was time that both Democrats and Republicans “lowered the temperature” and “contribute to a better level of discourse.”
Some House Republicans denounced Trump’s remarks but did not vote for the resolution condemning them, including Rep, Mike Turner, R-Ohio, who explicitly called the president’s tweets “racist” and called on him to apologize.
Some House Republicans said Pelosi violated House rules by calling the president’s remarks racist during a debate on the House floor.
Trump said Tuesday that it was “great to see how unified the Republican Party was” after earlier warning congressional Republicans not to show “weakness” in the face of Democratic lawmakers’ outrage.
Contributing: Christal Hayes