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Backlash after Trump’s racist tweets

Pelosi slams Trump's 'disgraceful and disgusting' tweets
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What you need to know about the House vote to condemn Trump's racist tweets

The House of Representatives voted tonight to condemn President Trump’s racist comments targeting four Democratic congresswomen of color.

The vote came after a tumultuous couple of hours on Capitol Hill including a brief time in which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was barred from speaking in the chamber.

Here’s how the vote went down:

  • About the resolution: It comes after Trump suggested in a series of tweets that the congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
  • The vote was 240 to 187: Four Republicans and one independent — Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan — supported the resolution as well as all Democrats who voted.
  • There was a procedural fight over Pelosi’s speech: The vote was halted for more than hour during a heated debate over her speech on the House floor. Pelosi violated House rules with her choice of words condemning Trump’s racist language, leading to a dramatic series of events ahead of the vote.
  • The House voted on Pelosi’s words: The Democratic-controlled House voted not to strike Pelosi’s comments from the record and to allow Pelosi to speak on the floor of the House again.
  • What Pelosi said about her speech: She told reporters she had “absolutely” no regrets for her language describing the resolution.

Ilhan Omar: Tonight's vote sends message that Trump's behavior and words are "not acceptable"

Rep. Ilhan Omar — one of the four Democratic congresswomen at the center of President Trump’s racist tweets —said tonight’s vote sends a message to President Trump and kids who are “wrestling with the weight” of his words.

“This is important because we are going to be able to send a clear message,” the Minnesota lawmaker said. “Not only to this President that his behavior and his words are not acceptable.”

She continued:

“But we, I think, more importantly are sending a bigger message to the young kids who have heard it every single day. Who are wrestling with the weight of those words now coming from the President, that we hear them, we see them, and we will never allow anybody to tell them that this isn’t their country. And that they are not as valued as every single one of us,” she said.

House passes resolution denouncing Trump's racist remarks targeting 4 congresswomen

The House of Representatives passed a resolution denouncing President Trump’s racist comments targeting four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color.

The vote was 240 to 187.

Four Republicans — Will Hurd, Brian Fitzpatrick, Fred Upton and Susan Brooks — and independent Justin Amash joined Democrats in voting for the resolution.

Some background: On Sunday, Trump suggested  in a series of tweets over the weekend that the congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The President’s tweets did not explicitly mention the lawmakers by name, but it was clear who Trump was referring to. His comments came on the heels of a public clash between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the four lawmakers, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

The President has continued to defend his remarks amid backlash on Capitol Hill.

While a significant number of congressional Republicans have rebuked the President over his comments, House GOP leadership has come to Trump’s defense.

So far, 4 Republicans have voted to condemn Trump’s racist tweets

The vote is still open, but so far, four Republicans are currently siding with Democrats on condemnation resolution for President Trump’s racist tweets.

They are…

  • Rep. Will Hurd
  • Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick
  • Rep. Fred Upton
  • Rep. Susan Brooks

Note, Rep. Justin Amash, an independent, has also voted for the resolution.

The House is voting now on a resolution condemning Trump's racist comments

The House of Representatives is voting right now on a resolution to denounce President Trump for “racist comments” targeting four Democratic congresswomen of color.

What’s in the resolution: The resolution states that “President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color” and “strongly condemns” the President’s remarks, including “that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘go back’ to other countries.”

House votes not to strike Pelosi's words from the record

The Democratic-controlled House voted not to strike House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments on President Trump’s remarks from the record.

The vote was 232 to 190.

All the no votes were from Democrats, including one independent — Michigan Rep. Justin Amash. All the yes votes were from Republicans.  

One thing to note: Pelosi was ruled to be in breach of House decorum in describing a resolution to condemn President Trump’s racist attacks on four congresswomen.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer made the announcement that the House parliamentarian had ruled Pelosi’s comments were not in order and should not be used in debate. The breach of decorum led to a vote on whether to strike her words from the record and a separate vote as to whether the speaker should have her speaking privileges for the day reinstated, privileges that are removed if a lawmaker is found not to be in order. (The House voted to allow Pelosi to speak on the floor of the House again.)

What Pelosi said: Speaking on the House floor, Pelosi called the President’s remarks “not only divisive but dangerous.”

“Every single member of this institution — Democratic and Republican — should join us in condemning the President’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people,” she said.

Pelosi said earlier that she cleared her remarks ahead of time with the parliamentarian.

Nancy Pelosi: I am "proud of my remarks" on the House floor

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will not take back her remarks describing President Trump’s comments as racist earlier today on the House floor.

She went on to say she doesn’t think any of the words the President said would have stood up on the floor.

“Look, I stand by my statement. I’m proud of the attention has been called to it because what the President said was completely inappropriate against our colleagues but not just against them but against so many people in our country and he said to them “go back to where you came from,” Pelosi said. 

“So I’m proud of my remarks and I’m glad they’re getting the attention they’re getting,” she added.

What happened earlier today: While addressing the House of Representatives during the debate over a resolution calling for members to condemn Trump’s racist comments, Pelosi called the President’s continued defense of his remarks “shameful.”

“Every single member of this institution — Democratic and Republican — should join us in condemning the President’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people,” she said.

A debate over Pelosi's floor speech is still going on

Deliberations over whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s words should be taken down are still ongoing, more than an hour and 15 minutes since they started. 

Pelosi described President Trump’s comments as racist in her floor speech today. She also said the “comments from the White House” are “disgraceful” and “disgusting” and that “these comments are racist.” 

Pelosi left for a religious freedom event off campus, but her staff has been on the floor near the dais in a tense huddle with parliamentarian staff and other staff for most of the time.

The top three Republican leaders — Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise and Liz Cheney — also came to the floor as they awaited the decision, talking with each other as well as with other GOP members who were on the floor during the deliberations.

And Democratic leaders like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler were also on hand. Nadler stood by the dais huddling with others, including at one point Eric Swalwell, while Hoyer stayed seated for much of the time on the floor.  

One thing to note: If it’s ruled that Pelosi’s words are taken down because they violate the decorum of the House, it would mean that she’s not allowed to speak again on the floor today without the House’s permission. She could still vote, though.

It’s fair to say it’s a highly unusual thing for a speaker’s words to be taken down — if that happens.

A brief timeline of Trump vs. "the Squad"

For three days in a row, President Trump has tweeted racist attacks on a group of four progressive congresswomen — and they have jabbed back.

The tensions have spread across Washington, with GOP leadership defending the President, while Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a resolution to condemn Trump’s comments.

Here’s a timeline of how we got here:

  • Last week: A group of Democrats condemns the conditions of border detention facilities. The group of women consisted of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
  • Sunday: Trump tweets a racist attack on progressive Democratic congresswomen, suggesting “they go back” to the countries from which they came. The tweet did not name any specific Democrat.
  • Later Sunday: Ocasio-Cortez writes on Twitter that the country she “come(s) from” and “swears to” is the US. Tlaib, Pressley and Omar also tweet back at the President.
  • Monday: Congress returns to Washington, and both Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans begin to condemn Trump’s remarks. Meanwhile, Trump continues attacking the congresswomen.
  • Also on Monday: Pelosi announces that the House will vote on a resolution to condemn Trump’s “xenophobic” comments.
  • Monday evening: The four congresswomen — know as “the Squad” — hold a news conference to respond to Trump’s attacks. They say the US “belongs to everyone.”
  • This morning: Trump again tweets attacks on the congresswomen, saying they “hate our Country.” The President also defends his previous tweets, saying they were “NOT Racist” and adds that he does not have “a Racist bone in my Body.”
  • Also this morning: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy leadership defends Trump’s remarks, saying the dispute is about “ideology,” and “the ideology of the Democratic Party is socialism.”

Republicans call out Pelosi after she describes Trump's comments as racist in her speech

Republicans called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moments ago when she specifically described President Trump’s comments as racist in her floor speech.

She also said the “comments from the White House” are “disgraceful” and “disgusting” and that “these comments are racist.” 

After Republican Rep. Doug Collins interjected and gave Pelosi a chance to withdraw her remarks from the record, Pelosi said she had cleared her remarks with the parliamentarian. Collins asked for her words to be taken down anyway, and now House officials are discussing what to do. 

Why this matters: Congressional members have to be careful with how they debate a condemnation resolution because they’re not allowed to attack the personalities or character of members, senators, or the President on the House floor. 

That’s problematic when they’re debating a resolution that characterizes something the President said as racist. 

Pelosi says Trump's comments about congressional members are "not only divisive but dangerous"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking from the House floor today, called President Trump’s continued defense of his remarks “shameful” and added that the “comments are racist.”

While addressing the House of Representatives during the debate over a resolution calling for members to condemn Trump’s racist tweets, she quoted former President Ronald Reagan: “If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.” 

“Yet the President’s comments about our colleagues this weekend show that he does not share those American values,” Pelosi said. “These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and the comments are racist.” 

She added that the Democratic House caucus “will continue to respond to the attacks on our members which reflect a fundamental disrespect for the beautiful diversity of America.” 

Pelosi went on to call the President’s remarks “not only divisive but dangerous” and said that his comments “have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

She said that to do “anything less” than condemn these remarks from Trump “would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people.”

“I urge a unanimous vote,” she said.

Mitch McConnell sidesteps question about his wife, who's an immigrant

Asked if he would consider it a racist attack if someone told his wife Elaine Chao — who is the US Secretary of Transportation and an immigrant and naturalized US citizen — to go back to her own country, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sidestepped the question and talked about his support for legal immigration.

“The Secretary of Transportation came here at the age of 8 not speaking a word of English, and has recognized the American dream. This is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time, and it’s good for America. We ought to continue it,” he told reporters.

McConnell continued: “As I said, the legal immigration has been a fulfilling of the American dream. The new people who come here have a lot of ambition, a lot of energy, tend to do very well and invigorate our country. My wife is a good example of that.”

He went on to say President Trump is “not a racist.”

“I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country,” the Kentucky senator said.

The House begins debate on resolution to condemn Trump's "racist comments"

The House of Representatives has begun debating a resolution condemning President Trump’s racist tweets and remarks ahead of the vote tonight.

What the resolution would do: It would denounce the President for “racist comments.” The resolution states that “President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color” and “strongly condemns” the President’s remarks, including “that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘go back’ to other countries.”

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said he’ll be voting against the Democratic-backed resolution and suggested he was encouraging other members to vote against it as well.

Mitch McConnell calls out Trump, congressional members: "All of us have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, spoke Tuesday afternoon about the feud between President Trump and the Democrats, saying that he believes “political rhetoric has really gotten way, way over heated all across the political spectrum.” 

“We’ve heard facilities on the US Border called concentration camps. We’ve seen the far left throw accusations of racism at everyone. Anyone who disagrees with them on anything, including the Speaker of the House,” McConnell said.

He added that over the past few days “the most vile accusations and insults against our nation have become incredibly routine.”

In his remarks, McConnell referenced a saying that he attributed to former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who he called “my all-time favorite.”

“[Scalia] said ‘I don’t attack people, I attack ideas’ and I think that’s a good lesson for all of us. From the President to the Speaker, to freshmen members of the House, all of us have a responsibility to elevate the public discourse,” McConnell said. 

Trump continues attack on congresswomen: "They can leave, they can stay"

Asked today about the four progressive Democratic congresswomen at the center of his racist tweets, President Trump continued his attacks, saying, “They can do what they want. They can leave.”

A reporter asked the President during a Cabinet meeting where the four congresswomen should go.

Here’s how Trump responded:

“It’s up to them. Go wherever they want or they can stay. But they should love our country. They shouldn’t hate our country. You look at what they have said. I have clips right here. The most vile, horrible statements about our country, about Israel, about others. It’s up to them. They can do what they want. They can leave, they can stay. But they should love our country and they should work for the good of our country.”

Some background: The controversy erupted when Trump tweeted that the women, all of whom are US citizens, should “go back” to where they came from.

Later in the Cabinet meeting, Trump said the congresswomen “hate our country.”

“What they did and the way they’re treating Israel is a disgrace. But not only Israel, it’s what they say about our country,” Trump said. “It’s my opinion they hate our country. And that’s not good. It’s not acceptable.”

As Trump doubles down on attacks against Democrats, the White House is rallying surrogates

As President Trump continues to double down on his attacks on progressive House members, the White House held a call with surrogates about ways to do messaging around the racist tweets, two sources familiar told CNN.

Allies of the White House have been armed with talking points to help defend the President against criticism of his comments. 

Talking points Trump brought to the South Lawn yesterday, but did not fully use, included pointing out that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s ascension to Congress is an “only in America” story and arguing that members of the so-called “Squad” have advocated for socialism. 

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill react to Trump's racist tweets

Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are reacting to President Trump’s tweets on Tuesday.

Some background: The President used racist language to attack four congresswomen this weekend, implying that they weren’t born in America and suggesting, “they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Today, he has been defending the tweets saying they are not racist and if the congresswomen are not happy in the US, they could leave.

Here’s what lawmakers had to say:

Sen. Lamar Alexander, the chairman of the Senate HELP Committee and a retiring member, told CNN that when it comes to Trump’s tweets, they aren’t productive, but he won’t say they are racist. 

 “Those are things I wouldn’t say. I think it’s better to talk about making our country better and what is wrong with the left-wing proposals of the people on the other side of the aisle.”
But, are the comments racist?
Alexander did not respond.

Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, told CNN off camera that the President should be the “uniter in chief.”

 “He thinks it’s good politics and it is a sad state of affairs that any President thinks it is good politics to divide the nation and use racist, bigoted remarks for political gain.”

Menendez said he is surprised that his Republican colleagues have not been more outspoken.

 “There is a time in which you have to be a patriot, not a partisan and when the language by this or any other President is clearly racist, bigoted and xenophobic, is left un-responded to by all, then it only emboldens him –– that silence is not just acquiescence, it can be interpreted beyond acquiescence, can be interpreted as support,” Menendez said.

Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat who leads House Rules Committee, said: “I don’t care if you are a Democrat or Republican. If people utter racist remarks, they ought to be condemned.”