By Miriam Raftery
July 16, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – For the first time in over 100 years, the House of Representatives today voted to condemn the actions of a President. Congressional members voted 240 to 187 to formally condemn President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts attacking four minority Congresswomen as “racist,” in the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her floor speech.
The action came in response to Trump slamming the four Congresswomen of color for criticizing his administration, then stating that they should go back to the countries they came from.
However, three of the four women are U.S. citizens who were born in the USA.
Specifically, Trump said the Democratic Congresswomen “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world,” then stated, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places fro which they came…you can’t leave fast enough.” He later double-down, stating that the women “hate America.”
The four Congresswomen attacked in the President’s tweets are representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Omar is a Muslim born in Somalia and is a naturalized citizen. The women have made at-times controversial remarks, such as Ocasio-Cortez calling migrant detention centers “concentration camps” or Omar’s comments on Israel and Palestine. But even some Republican members of Congress told media that Congress should respect the rights of its members to speak out, even when members disagree.
The resolution was introduced by Congressman Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat who was born in Poland. Many of the Congressional cosponsors were also born overseas.
The resolution states in part that “immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger,” then “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told of attending Catholic mass on Sunday in a Hispanic church and hearing a sermon on the good Samaritan, who helped foreigners, shortly before Trump issued his blistering tweets. She quote quotes supporting immigrants by presidents from our founding fathers to Ronald Reagan, then urged her colleagues to unanimously pass the resolution.
Her call for the vote was interrupted by Republican Doug Collins of Georgia, who demanded that her remarks be stricken from the record for violating House decorum. He claimed the resolution was meant to "make a mockery of their own leadership abiities because they do't like this president." After the contentious session, Pelosi's remarks remained on the record and the measure passed with only four Republicans and one independent joined with Democrats to vote for the resolution.
View the entire debate which ran more than nine hours on C-span: https://www.c-span.org/video/?462651-2/houses-votes-condemn-president-tr...
No similar measure will be introduced in the Senate, where Senate President Pro Team Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) stated tersely after today’s vote that “the President is no racist.”
Multiple major media outlets such as CBS News termed the tweets “racist” in headlines.
But Trump insists his tweets were “Not Racist,” in a tweet before the vote, which he called a “Democratic con game. Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap.”
At the White House after the vote, the President said again of the four American Congresswomen of color, “They can leave.”
The tweets are only the latest in a long string of actions by the President that many have characterized as racist, including his comments calling Mexicans “rapists and murderers” and his statement that there were “good people on both sides” of a Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, VA at which a protester was killed by a white Supremacist who rammed his vehicle into a crowd and was later convicted of murder.
Congress has adopted resolutions to condemn actions of a president only twice before in American history. In 1860, President James Buchanan was admonished for steering contracts based on political party. The Senate adopted a resolution condemning President Andrew Jackson for withholding documents in 1834, though that action was later expunged when Jackson’s political party regained control of the Senate.
All other resolutions to condemn or censure a president have failed. However, two presidents, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, were impeached by the House but both were acquitted by the Senate.
Read the resolution condemning President Trump: