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House passes resolution condemning Trump’s attack on Omar; Minnesota Republicans oppose

President Donald Trump
REUTERS/Leah Millis
President Donald Trump holds up a piece of paper with tweets about Rep. Ilhan Omar as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on during a cabinet meeting at the White House on Tuesday.

The House voted to condemn racist remarks made by President Trump over the weekend, in which he suggested four congresswomen of color, including Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis, should “go back” and fix the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The resolution, sponsored by Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), passed 240-187. Four Republicans and Justin Amash (I-MI), who recently left the Republican party, voted with Democrats in favor of the resolution.

While all Minnesota Democrats voted in favor of the resolution, Republican Reps. Tom Emmer, Jim Hagedorn, and Pete Stauber voted against it. None of them condemned the president’s remarks targeting their colleague.

Hagedorn has been silent on the president’s comments so far. Press representatives for the First District Republican did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Emmer, the Sixth District representative who serves as the National Republican Campaign Committee Chair, did not speak to the president’s racist language. Instead, his statement after the vote said in part, “This back-and-forth is about politics, nothing more, and I hope Congress will start to worry less about ‘tweets’ and more about actual solutions to improve the lives of Americans.”

Similarly, Stauber provided MinnPost with a statement, but did not condemn the racist language used by the president: “Just last week, four freshman colleagues of mine publicly accused Speaker Pelosi of racism. This week, these same Members are accusing the President of racism. I did not run for Congress to get distracted by the name-calling happening on both sides of the aisle,” Stauber wrote, saying he was elected to deal with issues like protecting Social Security and Medicare.

When asked about the president’s comments, the Republican Party of Minnesota did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Ken Martin, the state party chair for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party, responded on Tuesday to Republican leaders’ silence: “While we disagree on many important issues facing our country, we should be able to agree that telling a refugee, United States citizen, and sitting congresswoman to return to her home country is grotesque, racist, and completely unacceptable.”

‘I know racism when I see it’

While several House Republicans during the week denounced the President’s remarks, only two did so by calling the remarks explicitly racist: Mike Turner of Ohio and Will Hurd of Texas, the only Black Republican House member and one of the four Republicans that voted in favor of the resolution.

The resolution read, in part:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations;

(2) is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and

(3) strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized 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.

House Republican leadership held a press conference Tuesday where they did not address the president’s remarks. Republicans’ chief complaints about the resolution, according to Judiciary Committee leader Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) was procedural: Collins took issue with the resolution not being provided earlier, so members could bring it to their constituents, and with the language used by Democrats throughout the debate.

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the president’s remarks “racist,” Collins prompted a vote to strike the comments from the record, arguing they were out of order based on House rules dictate that members cannot call statements by the President “racist.” Nevertheless, House Democrats voted Collins’ motion down.

Stauber, Emmer, and Hagedorn voted with Collins to strike Pelosi’s statement that the president made “racist” remarks from the record.

Several House Democrats invoked Dr. Martin Luther King when speaking. But Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who actually marched with Dr. King during the Civil Rights Movement, said, “I rise with a sense of righteous indignation to support this resolution. I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest level of government there is no room for racism.”

Representatives respond

Since the president made the initial comments, he has added a variety of racist and Islamophobic comments, falsely suggesting Omar supports and must condemn Al Qaeda, that all four congresswomen are anti-Semitic, and that they “hate our country.”

During a press conference Monday, the four representatives that Trump referenced in his initial Twitter remarks: Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayana Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), responded to the president’s comments.

“This country was founded on the radical idea that we are created equal and endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. And yes we have a long way before we fully live up to those values,” said Omar. “It is for this reason precisely that we have to take action when the President is openly violating the oath he took to the constitution of the United States and the core values we aspire to.”

REUTERS/Erin Scott
Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib holding a Monday afternoon press conference after Democrats in the U.S. Congress moved to formally condemn President Donald Trump's attacks on the four minority congresswomen.
In addition to focusing on the president’s comments, the four members of Congress used their time to discuss health care and the impact of the Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. “I believe this is a pivotal moment for our country. Right now the president is carrying out mass deportation raids across this country in each one of our districts,” Omar said. “Right now the president is committing human rights abuses at the border, keeping children in cages, and having human beings drink out of toilets.”

“This is a president who has undermined the very values our country aspires to uphold,” Omar said. “Equality under the law, religious liberty, equal protection, and protection from persecution.”

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Pat Brady on 07/17/2019 - 10:19 am.

    Rep Emmer, Hagedorn, and Stauber voted against the resolution cited above.
    Do they not have residents in their districts where the trope “go back to your country ” is seen as a racist comment?
    Or do these three Representatives now belong to the Trump Party with every bone in their bodies?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/17/2019 - 01:06 pm.

      There is a third possibility: They agree with what he said, not out of spinelessness or loyalty, but out of personal conviction. Rep. Hagedorn, in particular, has a history of racist, sexist, and all around bigoted remarks that he has tried to downplay. Perhaps President Trump just said what they are thinking.

  2. Submitted by Pat Brady on 07/17/2019 - 10:28 am.

    I am disgusted seeing the SoS smiling, in picture above,as the POTUS holds up a copy of a Twitter post with the picture of Rep. Omar MN to continue his attack on four women Representatives of color.

    • Submitted by Bob Johnson on 07/23/2019 - 02:19 pm.

      Pompous Pompeo was a member of the Freedom Caucus, a radical RW group that found the TEA party not radical enough.
      Pompeo has no business being Sec / State, and proves that fact with his petty political rhetoric.
      He’s going to get us into an unwanted war soon, but guess what?
      He’ll blame the Democratic party.

  3. Submitted by Barry Peterson on 07/17/2019 - 10:58 am.

    I am content with the resolution, as written. However, I believe that by using the word “condemn” in resolution, instead of terms which guide others to think about their actions in a manner which is not provoked by visceral reactions, may be a better choice.

    Of course, there are those who may say that “condemn” is the best approach. In spirit, it is the best approach, but in practicality, I believe that using this language, instead of using guiding language, only leads to those with polarized attitudes to remain planted in their attitudes.

  4. Submitted by gloria flor on 07/17/2019 - 11:15 am.

    Are there even words to convey the despicable fact that a president can express his racist viewpoint and there is a ban on our congressional members from calling him out on it? Shame on us and shame on every congressional member that leans on this “crutch of condonement” for presidential abuse of others without fear of repercussion. Shame and shame again….

  5. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 07/17/2019 - 11:38 am.

    There are only two explanations for the silence of the Republicans: cowardice or agreement.

    If the former, it rather boggles the mind that there exists such deference to a debased and benighted character like Trump. Or, perhaps the Republicans are in fear for their careers if they defend an ethical principle, in which case they should question whether they possess the moral fortitude and leadership necessary to serve in public office.

    If the latter, well, we already know that a majority of Trump supporters are racists themselves, as revealed (among other ways) in a poll from a couple of years ago:

    How Do Trump Supporters See Black People?
    “Less evolved,” our survey shows.

    It’s a safe assumption that any number of Republican politicians share this prejudice. How many is anyone’s guess, although GOP silence on Trump’s infantile outburst shoves into the foreground a question you’d think we would be well beyond, but clearly are not: Does the GOP reject racism? Will it make a resounding and detailed statement, absolute in its condemnation, of all forms of racism and bigotry?

    Or, does it believe that racism is a politically expedient tool at times? Does it not see any real problem here? Does it implicitly agree with the buffoon occupying the White House?

  6. Submitted by Joe Bontems on 07/17/2019 - 01:32 pm.

    IMAGINE a true nation of E pluribus unum, where there is no majority nor minority, only Americans: where people of all colours, religions (or no religion), levels of ability, gender identity or orientation, all national origins are fully compatible and equal; where all would benefit from similar levels of opportunity and for achievement… in which the elderly are revered and all children cherished and nurtured. This hopefully will be the fulfillment of the American project….with the likes of the current creature occupying the White House fading into a less than glorious past.

  7. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/17/2019 - 04:19 pm.

    Just remember, Messrs. Emmer, Hagedorn and Stauber are suffering, too:

  8. Submitted by Kamille Cheese on 07/17/2019 - 06:30 pm.

    I see Trump’s comments regarding the “squad,” so they’re called, more sexist than racist. I see our government doing more of what one might see on an elementary school playground than working on the more important and urgent issues our country is facing. It’s time to grow up, Republican, Democrat, Independent, men and women. Disagreements can be positive and produce results that work. Time to discipline themselves. No time for “time-outs”.

  9. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 07/18/2019 - 09:12 am.

    Emmer, Hagedorn, Stauber, What a bunch of disgusting shameful cowards, apparently they are reflecting their anti-American values supporters!

  10. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 07/21/2019 - 08:46 am.

    Hmmm…does the “R” in republican actually mean racist?
    We should never be silent over racism and inequality.
    To be silent, is to enable it

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