House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doubled down on condemning President Trump’s insult aimed at four of her freshman members as racist on Wednesday, though arguing the House passed the nicest version it could.
“Those words are racism,” she told reporters.
The House voted Tuesday evening to formally condemn President Trump for targeting Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Talib — though Mrs. Pelosi said they did so “in the most gentle way.”
“You have no idea the provisions that some people wanted to have in the resolution,” she said. “This was benign.”
However, the House parliamentarian found Mrs. Pelosi’s remarks rebuking the president to be violation of House rules during the debate on Tuesday.
“These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
“Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets,” she continued. “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.”
House rules prohibit members from personally criticizing the president and ascribing racial animus to things he may have said. Though Democrats rallied behind her, however, and voted against punishing the Speaker by striking her words from the record or barring her from debating on the floor.
The resolution specifically condemned comments Mr. Trump tweeted out over the weekend, suggesting the congresswomen return to the dysfunctional governments “from which they came” rather than criticizing the U.S.
The resolution passed mostly along party lines in a 240-187 vote, with 4 Republicans and newly-minted independent Justin Amash voting with Democrats.
Mrs. Pelosi said the “benign” approach should have garnered more Republican support.
“You always hope that they might do the right thing,” she said.
Republicans, however, were frustrated with the resolution, which they saw as a political game, claiming Democrats didn’t reach out for Republican input on the resolution but instead rushed it onto the floor.
“What happened to the 72-hour rule ensuring members have an opportunity to review legislation, seek feedback from constituents before voting on it? What happened to regular order?” Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia argued on Tuesday.
“There wasn’t any discussion or iterations here,” Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma told reporters, comparing it to the revisions made to a resolution responding to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s controversial statements.
“It was just an effort to embarrass the president. There was no effort make this bipartisan,” Mr. Cole added.
Most Republicans rallied around the president and rejected arguments that his comments were racist, although some did criticize the rhetoric he used on Monday.
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