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US House of Representative condemns Trump’s ‘racist comments’

Ilhan Omar with reporters after the resolution condemning Trump’s comments against her was passed [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 July, 2019

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In an extraordinary move, the US House of Representatives has formally condemned President Donald Trump for xenophobic language directed at Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and two other ethnic minority congresswomen

The US House of Representatives formally condemned Donald Trump on Tuesday for xenophobic attacks on four ethnic minority Democratic lawmakers and hostile language targeting immigrants, as the president pushed back at accusations of racism.

The House voted 240-187 to condemn Trump’s comments, which were aimed at Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.

The four Congresswomen are of Somali, Palestinian, Hispanic, and African-American origin respectively. All of them, except Ilhan Omar, were born in the US.

Omar came to the US as a child fleeing war-torn Somalia and her and Tlaib are the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress.

Top Republican leaders rallied around Trump, with Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, saying "the president is not a racist."

However, four members of the president's party voted with the 235 Democrats to condemn him for "racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of colour."

One independent lawmaker also supported the measure, which takes aim at Trump's weekend tweets telling a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen of colour to "go back" to other countries.

The resolution also takes the president to task for "referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as 'invaders.'"

Trump has a long history of political pandering to white prejudices about other ethnic groups, and the resolution criticizes him for "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."

Democrats hold a majority in the 435-member House but are outnumbered by Republicans in the Senate, where the resolution is unlikely to be considered.

Trump stuck by the provocative comments Monday and again Tuesday.

"Our Country is Free, Beautiful and Very Successful. If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!" the president tweeted.

Democratic leaders denounced Trump's remarks, and rallied round the lawmakers.

Slamming the "so-called vote" as a "Democrat con game," Trump urged his fellow Republicans not to "show 'weakness' and fall into their trap."

"Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don't have a Racist bone in my body!" Trump said.

"This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country," the president wrote.

"Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party," Trump added, in a jab at the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has had a complicated relationship with the four left-leaning ethnic minority congresswomen who were elected in 2018.

Speaking on the House floor prior to the vote, Pelosi said: "Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president's racist tweets.

"To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people."

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