WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to condemn President Donald Trump for “racist comments” against four minority Democratic congresswomen, a symbolic vote aimed at shaming Trump and his fellow Republicans who stood by him.
Tempers flared in the hours leading up to the vote that mainly split along party lines, the culmination of three days of outrage sparked by a Trump tweetstorm that diverted attention from all other business in Washington.
Trump had told the group of congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
All four lawmakers – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – are U.S. citizens. Three were born in the United States.
Democrats, who have a majority in the House, passed the symbolic resolution of condemnation on Tuesday evening, which said the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”
Four Republicans joined the Democrats to support the measure.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has struggled at times to work with the progressive newcomers in her caucus, staunchly defended them in the debate.
“These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s comments put the House into a two-hour limbo after Republicans argued she went too far in her comments and broke debate rules.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized Democrats for remarks that upset the “order and decency” of the chamber, saying: “Today is the day that historians will write about.”
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He had urged his colleagues to vote against the measure. “It’s all politics,” McCarthy told reporters.
Trump has a history of what critics consider race-baiting. He led a movement that falsely claimed former Democratic President Barack Obama was not born in the United States and said after a deadly, white supremacist-led rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the incident.