WASHINGTON (CN) – After a days-long spat with congressional Democrats, the ink is now dry on a House resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s racist Twitter tirades, passed Tuesday 240-187.
The tirade began Sunday, directed at four freshman congresswomen collectively dubbed “the squad.” Trump did not mention them by name, but has sparred with them over issues like immigration, a citizenship question being added to the 2020 census, and other policies.
“The squad” includes lhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia but came to the U.S. at age 12 and is now an American citizen; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who is of Puerto Rican descent and was born in the Bronx; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, a black congresswoman originally from Cincinnati; and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, a Muslim born in Detroit.
“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world, (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States… how our government is to be run,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
At a press conference Monday, the congresswomen rejected the president’s comments and said they represent all Americans. Ocasio-Cortez said no matter what Trump says, the country belongs to everyone, and Pressley called the comments a distraction.
“I encourage the American people and all of us, in this room and beyond, to not take the bait,” Pressley said. “This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people.”
Trump continued his three-day Twitter attack Tuesday. He accused the congresswomen of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate.” He also called them anti-Israel, pro-terrorist and anti-American.
“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,” Trump tweeted.
In another tweet, Trump said, “Why isn’t the house voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said? Because they are the Radical Left, and the Democrats are afraid to take them on. Sad!”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., introduced the resolution to condemn Trump’s tirade as racist Monday and fast-tracked it to the Committee on Rules. Opponents on the committee discussed the haste in sending it to the floor – a point also raised by House Republicans during debate Tuesday.
During contentious debate Tuesday, Representative Al Green, D-Texas, stood beside a large display board displaying the number of days that have gone by since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s meddling with the 2016. Above the number – 90 – were the words “Number of days the Trump Administration has been above the law.” Green then said he would be filing articles of impeachment.
“I rise today to pose the question, ‘What do you do when the leader of the free world is a racist?” Green said. “You file articles of impeachment, impeaching the president of the United States of America.”
In the afternoon, the House was held in limbo for nearly an hour while parliamentarians assessed if comments made by Pelosi – that the president’s comments on Sunday were racist – went against parliamentary procedure.
“Those are American traits, hope, optimism and courage, and many of these immigrants when they come here with those values and those traits make America more American,” Pelosi said. “Yet the president’s comments show that he does not share those American values. These comments from the White House are a disgrace and disgusting and the comments are racist.”
Representative Doug Collins, R-Ga., asked Pelosi if she would like to rephrase her comments, to which Pelosi said she had already cleared the remarks with the parliamentarian. Collins moved to strike the comments from the record, which was defeated 232-190, as Pelosi walked from the podium to applause from House Democrats.
The debate was briefly halted for a second time when Collins took issue with language used by Representative Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., describing comments Trump made in the past.
“Saying immigrants from Mexico are rapists is racist,” Swalwell said, listing several past comments by Trump. “There is racism coming out of the White House.”
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House, said she was appalled by comments coming from the White House.
“And it’s not the first time I’ve heard ‘Go back to your own country,’ but it is the first time I heard it coming from the White House,” Jayapal said. “Madam Speaker, my Republican colleagues have been talking about patriotism, about love of country. One of them said, ‘Love it or leave it.’ But what is love if not to make what we love better through our critique, our work and our service. That is what real Americans do.”
At one point during the debate, Representative Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who served as the Speaker Pro Tempore for the majority of the proceedings, abandoned the chair, citing relentless fighting between members of both parties. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., reclaimed the post.
In the end, four Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution, including Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., Fred Upton, R-Michigan, Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and Will Hurd, R-Texas.
But some Democrats thought the resolution didn’t go far enough. Representative Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., introduced a more resolution to censure Trump over his social media use. During debates Tuesday, Cohen said he felt the group should be passing legislation stronger than a resolution denouncing the president’s comments.
“His willingness to offend American tradition and sensibilities to rile his base is unacceptable and this resolution says so,” Cohen said in a statement Tuesday. “People need to understand that the president has crossed a red line in his chaotic commentary.”