The president said they should instead be voting “to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things” that four progressive women lawmakers have said.
The resolution twice refers to “racist comments” by Trump but does not call the president a racist.
In a closed-door meeting with House Democrats ahead of the vote, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “these are our sisters” in reference to the four newly elected Democratic lawmakers: Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Pelosi, D-Calif., insisted the resolution is about more than just “The Squad” — the nickname for the four congresswoman.
“The fact is, as offended as we are — and we are offended by what he said about our sisters — he says that about people every day, and they feel as hurt as we do about somebody in our family having this offense against them,” Pelosi said.
“This is, I hope, one where we will get Republican support,” she said. “If they can’t support condemning the words of the president, well, that’s a message in and of itself.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a news conference Tuesday morning that he did not believe Trump’s tweets were racist.
“I believe this is about ideology; this is about socialism versus freedom,” McCarthy said, adding that the four congresswomen “talked more about impeachment than anything else” at a news conference Monday where they responded to the president.
“This is more from their base, it’s about politics, and it’s unfortunate,” he said. “We should get back to the business of America.”
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, said at the news conference that she wanted to make clear the GOP’s “opposition to our socialist colleagues has absolutely nothing to do with their gender, with their religion or with their race, it has to do with the content of their policies.”
Trump’s comments about the congresswomen have sparked a firestorm in Washington, where Democrats and a handful of Republicans have rebuked the president for his remarks and some have denounced them as racist. On Sunday, Trump tweeted that, instead of criticizing his government, the four congresswomen should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
“Then come back and show us how it is done,” he added. “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that the four congresswomen “have been spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate” and asked why the House wasn’t “voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said?”
In more tweets later Tuesday morning, Trump denied that his tweets were racist, saying Congress should instead be taking action on “the filthy language” by the foursome of congresswomen.
Asked Monday if he was concerned that his comments were being called racist, the president had said, “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me.”
On Tuesday, the sponsor of the House resolution, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., said of Trump, “It’s a reality show for him; the reality for us is that this is causing violence. And that’s what I want people to come together around.”
“This is not really about Trump,” Malinowski said about the resolution. “This is about us — it’s about who we are in this institution and what we stand for and what we believe.”
In a joint press conference Monday, the congresswomen reamed Trump for his remarks and portrayed him as a lawless president. Omar said Trump was promoting “the agenda of white nationalists” and called his remarks “blatantly racist.”
Ocasio-Cortez responded Tuesday morning to Trump’s latest tweets, writing on Twitter, “You’re right, Mr. President — you don’t have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest.”