U.S. House of Reps. Vote to Condemn the President’s Racist Tweets

From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., respond to base remarks by President Donald Trump after he called for the four Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their “broken” countries, as he exploited the nation’s glaring racial divisions for political gain, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. Rep. Omar is the first Somali-American in Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)


If you haven’t noticed, Congress has been getting Blacker, Browner, and more occupied by women than ever before. Meanwhile, President Trump’s crusade against the civil rights of immigrants, Muslims, women and people of color continues to amplify the rhetoric and bigotry that feeds racism, sexism and xenophobia in America.

Earlier this week, one of Twitter’s most provocative and problematic users, the president himself, lashed out in tweets directed towards freshmen Democratic House members Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — all women of color. Last week, the four congresswomen were involved in a group of Democrats who were condemning the conditions at the border detention facilities in the U.S. A week later, the president attacked.

In his twitter jab, the president refers to the home countries of the Congresswomen as “the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.” Three of the four representatives — Reps. Pressley, Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez — were born in the U.S. Rep. Omar were born in Somalia.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came? Then come back and show us how it is done,” President Trump tweeted.

This isn’t the first time that the president’s xenophobia has taken front stage. His tweets on Sunday ignited a fury of backlash against the racist and derogatory implications of the sentiment that these four women of color should, “Go back to the country from which they came.” Initially, he did not name any of the four congresswomen, but when asked on Monday, the president said, “you can guess” who he was referring to.

In a press conference held Monday, Reps. Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib responded to the president’s comments, condemning him for the utterly racist tweets. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, the first Black congresswoman to represent Massachusetts, urged the public not to pay this debacle too much energy, referring to the president as “an occupant of the White House,” because he is merely taking up space, she said.

“I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait,” said Rep. Pressley. “This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people.” Pressley said these distractions are disrupting the agenda that constituents send representatives like her to Capitol Hill to focus on such issues as health care costs, affordable housing prices and the crisis at immigration detention centers at the borders.

President of the Congressional Black Caucus, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, agrees that too much attention is spent on the daily bigoted tweets of President Trump.

Rep. Bass wrote on Twitter, “Racists tweet, racist things. What we should be focused on right now though, ESPECIALLY today, is that racists also create and enforce racist policies. They’re trying to deport people across Los Angeles as I type this. Stay focused. Know your rights.”

Rep. Ihan Omar of Minnesota is the first ever Somali-American elected into the House of Representatives. During the press conference, Omar had a strong response to Trump who said her home country is “inept, non-functioning and a total complete catastrophe.”

“This is a president who has overseen the most corrupt administration in our history, and pursued an agenda to allow millions of Americans to die from a lack of healthcare, while he transfers millions of dollars in tax cuts to corporations,” said Rep. Omar.

“This is a president who has said ‘grab women by the p****.’ This is a president who has called Black athletes ‘sons of bitches.’ This is a president who has called Black people who come from Black and Brown countries, ‘sh**holes,’” she continued. “This is a president who has openly violated the very value our country aspires to uphold: Equality under the law; religious liberty; equal protection; and protection from persecution.”

The president later went on to defend himself against the congresswomen, scrutinizing their love of America, as he accused Rep. Omar of being an al-Quaeda supporter.

“You are stoking White nationalism [because] you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda,” Rep. Tlaib of Michigan, the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress, wrote on Twitter.

Democrats were quick to stand behind Reps. Tlaib, Omar, Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley while the GOP remained hushed on the question – Are the president’s remarks towards the four house members racist?

This war of words is now an official part of the congressional record as the House of Representatives voted Tuesday, on a resolution condemning President Trump’s comments. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi, who has recently been at odds with the four congresswomen, jumped to their defense saying, “These are our sisters. The fact is, as offended as we are, and we are offended by what he said about our sisters. He says that about people every day, and they feel as hurt as we do about somebody in our family having this offense against them.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives for a closed-door session with her caucus before a vote on a resolution condemning what she called “racist comments” by President Donald Trump at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, July 16, 2019. His remarks were directed at Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

On Tuesday, Speaker Pelosi addressed the House, describing President Trump’s comments as “comments from the White House” that are “disgraceful” and “disgusting” and that “these comments are racist.”

Pelosi’s comments caused some contention, as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said her remarks should be removed from the resolution because they were not in order, and characterized personality rather than comments. However, Pelosi’s remarks were not removed. Ultimately, the resolution was approved with 240 votes in favor with 187 representatives in opposition. Only four Republicans voted in support of the resolution.

The resolution states that the House of Representatives “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimatized 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.”

The Trump administration continues to defend President Trump and on Tuesday the president tweeted: “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show “weakness” and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country …”

In response, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez wrote:

“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. That’s why you violate the rights of children and tell the Congresswoman who represents your home borough, to “go back to my country.”