Majority House Democrats, including seven from Washington, united Tuesday to publicly condemn “racist comments” by President Donald Trump toward four Democratic congresswomen of color whom he said should return to where they came from.
On a 240-187 vote, the House passed a resolution upbraiding the president for the tenor and content of his tweet attack on the quartet of first-term Democrats, who are all citizens and three of whom were born in this country. The measure contends Trump’s “racist comments” have “legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color” by saying they should “go back” to other countries.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Seattle, a native of India, said she was “appalled” at the president’s statements.
“It is not the first time I’ve heard, ‘Go back to where you came from,’” said Jayapal, who represents part of Snohomish County, in the protracted and passion-filled floor debate. “It is the first time I have heard it coming from the White House.”
Democratic U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene of Medina and Rick Larsen of Everett, who also represent Snohomish County, issued statements after voting for the resolution.
“The President’s comments about my colleagues were hateful and racist,” DelBene said. “By ignoring it or choosing to sweep it under the rug, we normalize his ugly behavior.”
Larsen said, “The president telling his critics to go back to the countries they originally came from was wrong and un-American. It goes against what this country stands for — this nation is the land of opportunity for all.”
Washington’s three Republican House members voted against the resolution.
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers of Spokane criticized the president’s comments but took Democrats to task for pursuing the measure.
“The President’s tweets over the weekend were wrong and distract from the discourse we’re having in this country about socialism. Freedom-loving Americans will win this debate with facts and civility, not personal attacks,” she said. “House Democrats have wasted their first year in the majority on non-binding resolutions that do nothing and bills that are political statements rather than sincere legislation.”
Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside issued a statement which attacked Democrats more sharply and contained a passing reference to Trump.
“I strongly disagree with the far-left ideals of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and I oppose most of their policy proposals — not because of their race, gender, or religion, but because I believe the socialist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American ideas expressed, accepted, and promoted by members of the Democrat majority are not right for the American people,” he said.
“I do not believe President Trump nor Speaker Pelosi are racist, but as a member of the House Civility & Respect Caucus, I believe Members of Congress and the Executive Branch should maintain (a) mutual level of respect for one another — regardless of disagreements,” he said.
Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler of Vancouver did not issue a statement following Tuesday’s vote.
She did weigh in Monday via Twitter, saying that while she disagreed on most policy matters with the four Democratic congresswomen who were the subject of the president’s tweets, “we are all Americans – as is the president. We can & must defend our ideas on how to improve our country (without) descending into divisive & demeaning language.”