The Republican leadership in Congress on Tuesday expressed its continued support for President Donald Trump as Democrats prepared to vote on a resolution condemning the president for what they deemed “racist” tweets and remarks this week.
Trump doubled down again on his remarks from the weekend, insisting that four non-white Democratic congresswomen critical of him can “go back” to where they came from, though all are US citizens and three were born in the country.
Trump said based on comments and actions of the four freshmen lawmakers, who he didn’t refer to by name, that he believes they hate the United States and accused them also of being anti-Semitic – charges they all flatly deny.
Trump insisted that his tweets were not racist, adding in a tweet on Tuesday that “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”
He also called the vote on the resolution “a Democrat con game” and said Republicans should not “show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap.”
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, announced a vote later Tuesday on the resolution, which notes that “American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy.”
Pelosi said it was “stunning to hear words ‘go home’ to [House] colleagues,” saying these same words have been used against people in the past to make them feel they didn’t belong because they weren’t born in the US or didn’t look like other people.
“These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist,” she said on the House floor. “How shameful to hear him continue to defend those offensive words – words that we have all heard him repeat not only about our members, but about countless others.”
She urged House members to vote for the resolution as a “swift and strong unified condemnation” of Trump’s comments.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to offer any criticism of the president’s remarks when pressed by reporters on Capitol Hill. He accused the freshmen of making the “most vile accusations and insults against our nation” and said “it’s about time we lowered the temperature all across the board.”
McConnell stressed he was “a big fan” of legal immigration and insisted “the president is not a racist.”
Much of the recent criticism of the young lawmakers has come from their outspoken condemnation of Trump’s immigration policies and conditions at detention facilities at the border.
The four Democrats, known as “the squad,” held a briefing Monday to denounce Trump.
“He’s launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color,” said Representative Ilhan Omar.
Representative Ayanna Pressley described Trump’s tweets as a “distraction from the issues of consequence” and urged Americans “not take the bait.”
She said the “squad” is “more than four people” and despite attempts to silence them, she and the other three freshmen are “committed to building a more equitable and just world and that is the work that we want to get back to.”
The four women said Trump’s rhetoric and policies are part of the agenda of white nationalists, and Omar added her voice to those calling for Trump to be impeached.
Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib are the other two members of the group.
Omar was born in Somalia, while Tlaib was born in the US to Palestinian parents, and Ocasio-Cortez in New York to parents with roots in Puerto Rico – a US territory.
Omar and Tlaib became the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in 2018. Pressley is the first black woman elected to Congress in the state of Massachusetts and was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to American parents. (dpa/NAN)