Dear Commons Community,
In response to President Donald Trump telling four congresswomen to “go back” to their original countries, Democrats offered a resolution condemning the president’s words as racist. But the House descended into chaos than expected yesterday as Republicans objected to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calling Trump’s comments “racist” ― technically a violation of House rules ― and Democrats upheld House rules in one instance and ignored them in others.
If there was any doubt that Republicans are in lockstep with Trump, the contentious debate and vote Tuesday should put it to rest. The House voted 240-187 to denounce Trump’s statement as racist, with four Republicans ― Fred Upton of Michigan, Susan Brooks of Indiana, Will Hurd of Texas and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania ― joining all Democrats in support of the resolution.
But the vote was only a small part of the mayhem on the House floor.
The resolution was a tightly worded document meant to castigate the president for his racist attack on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). Democrats had already tortured themselves on the exact wording of the resolution, which carries the same force as a press release. There was an internal debate that spilled out on the floor Monday evening about whether Democrats should actually call Trump’s comments racist ― daring vulnerable Republicans to vote against the resolution ― or whether they should just refer to the tweets and try to divide Republicans as much as possible on the vote.
Ultimately, they went with calling the comments as most members saw it: racist, and they decided it was better to unite their own caucus rather than trying to divide Republicans.