The vote comes two days after he told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”
In a remarkable political repudiation, the Democratic-led US House voted to condemn President Donald Trump’s “racist comments” against four congresswomen of colour, despite protestations by Trump’s Republican congressional allies and his own insistence that he hasn’t “a racist bone in my body”.
The vote comes two days after he told the lawmakers they should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”.
All four US representatives – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib – are US citizens. Three were born in the US.
Despite a lobbying effort by Trump and party leaders for a unified front, four Republicans voted to condemn his remark – moderate Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Will Hurd of Texas and Susan Brooks of Indiana. Also backing the measure was Michigan’s independent Representative.
The president and other top Republicans tried to redirect the focus from Trump’s original tweets, which for three days have drawn widespread condemnation.
Instead, they accused the four congresswomen of socialism.
Even after two-and-a-half years of Trump’s turbulent governing style, the spectacle of a president futilely labouring to head off a House vote essentially proclaiming him to be a racist was extraordinary.
Underscoring the stakes, Republicans formally objected after Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said during a floor speech that Trump’s tweets were “racist”.
Led by Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, Republicans moved to have her words struck from the record, a rare procedural rebuke. But Democrats flexed their muscle and the House voted afterward by party line to leave Pelosi’s words intact in the record. Some rank-and-file Republican lawmakers have agreed that Trump’s words were racist, but party leaders insisted they were not and accused Democrats of using the resulting tumult to score political points.
Hours earlier, Trump tweeted: “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a racist bone in my body!” He wrote that House Republicans should “not show ‘weakness’” by agreeing to a resolution he labelled “a Democrat con game”. Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of Trump’s four targets, returned his fire. “You’re right, Mr President – you don’t have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in your head and a racist heart in your chest,” she tweeted.
And one of the leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, Senator Kamala Harris of California, offered an impassioned response to Trump’s racist tweets at a round-table for women of colour in Davenport, Iowa, saying to applause: “And he needs to go back to where he came from”.
The four-page Democratic resolution said the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimised and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of colour”. It said Trump’s slights “do not belong in Congress or in the US”.
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez