The House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to condemn President Trump’s recent string of racist attacks against four progressive congresswomen of color.
The final vote was 240 to 187. Every House Democrat voted in favor of the resolution. They were joined by only four of the 197 House Republicans. Former Republican turned independent Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) also voted with House Democrats. The vast majority of the Republicans are now on the record as condoning the president’s tweets calling for the congresswomen to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
The Republicans who voted for the resolution were Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Will Hurd (R-TX), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Susan Brooks (R-IN). On Monday, Hurd described the president’s tweets as “racist,” the same language used to the describe them in the resolution.
Prior to the vote, several Republican lawmakers publicly defended the president while criticizing House Democrats for bringing a resolution condemning his tweets to the floor.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told reporters Tuesday morning that he did not believe Trump’s tweets were racist and that “this is about ideology, this is about socialism versus freedom.” Standing next to McCarthy was Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who offered a similar defense. “The issue here is the content of their policies, and we will continue to stand up and fight against what we know is wrong for this nation,” she said.
A few hours later, a spokesperson for Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) confirmed that Republican leadership would be voting against the resolution and advising the rest of the caucus to do likewise.
On the House floor before the vote on the resolution, a debate raged over the use of the word “racist” to describe Trump’s tweets. After Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dropped the R word while addressing the House prior to the vote, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) asked for her comments to be taken down, arguing that they were “unparliamentary.” The point of order led to a prolonged debate that forced the White House to postpone a pre-scheduled meeting between Trump and GOP leadership, as McCarthy, Scalise, and Cheney all stayed in the chamber to oversee the bickering.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 16, 2019
House rules prohibit calling the president racist, but Pelosi and other leading Democrats seemed to feel they were able to skirt the rule by using the word in reference to Trump’s comments, not Trump himself. The only problem is that House rules also prohibit saying that the president made a “bigoted or racist statement.” Pelosi appeared to do so in her comments on the floor. The infraction can also be found in the resolution, which is titled “Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.”
Though Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), who was presiding over the debate involving Pelosi’s comment, literally dropped his gavel and abandoned the chair, it was ultimately ruled that Pelosi’s comments were out of order, and a vote was taken as to whether she would be allowed to speak on the House floor for the remainder of the day. McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, said before the vote that “the world is watching us.”
None of this matters, though. What was voted upon Tuesday was clear. The overwhelming majority of House Republicans went on the record condoning one of the vilest — and yes, most racist — sentiments the president has expressed since taking office.