US House votes to condemn Trump’s ‘racist comments’

Four US congresswomen of color were recently the target of US President Donald Trump’s comments about immigration. (File/AFP)
Updated 17 July 2019

US House votes to condemn Trump’s ‘racist comments’

  • Trump has a long history of pandering to white suspicions about other ethnic groups
  • Trump’s repeated attacks appear to be aimed at galvanizing his mostly white electoral base ahead of the 2020 presidential vote

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives formally condemned Donald Trump on Tuesday for xenophobic attacks on four minority Democratic lawmakers and hostile language targeting immigrants, as the president denied accusations of racism.
Top Republican leaders rallied around Trump, but 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 color.”
One independent lawmaker also supported the measure, which takes aim at Trump’s weekend tweets telling a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen of color 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 pandering to white suspicions 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.
The four congresswomen — all but one of whom were born in the US — are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African-American descent.
Trump has stuck by the provocative comments.
“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 Tuesday.
Democratic leaders denounced Trump’s remarks, and rallied around the lawmakers — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley.
Omar is the only one born outside the United States.
Slamming the “so-called vote” as a “Democrat con game,” Trump urged 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,” he 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 House speaker who has had a tenuous relationship with the four left-leaning first-term congresswomen.
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.”
“I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest level of government, there’s no room for racism,” Representative John Lewis, an American civil rights icon, said in remarks on the House floor.
Trump’s repeated attacks appear to be aimed at galvanizing his mostly white electoral base ahead of the 2020 presidential vote.
“See you in 2020!” said Trump, who before becoming president pushed the racist “birther” conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
Ocasio-Cortez dismissed Trump’s denial that he is a racist.
“You’re right, Mr. President — you don’t have a racist bone in your body,” she tweeted. “You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest.”
She also took aim at Republican lawmakers who voted against the resolution, telling CBS News that “they could not bring themselves to have the basic human decency to vote against the statement that the president made.”
Trump meanwhile took to Twitter on Tuesday night to hail “how unified the Republican Party was on today’s vote.”
While some Republican members of Congress have condemned Trump’s remarks, House Republican leaders closed ranks behind the president.
“This is all about politics,” said House Republican minority leader Representative Kevin McCarthy of California.
Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, said “the president is not a racist.”
Immediately after the House vote a Democratic congressman, Al Green of Texas, filed articles of impeachment against Trump.
Dozens of other Democratic members of the House have reportedly called for an impeachment inquiry to be opened against the president but Pelosi has said she does not favor such a move at the moment.


Four killed in India clash ahead of Trump arrival

A man supporting a new citizenship law throws a stone at those who are opposing the law, during a clash in New Delhi, India, February 24, 2020. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 min 34 sec ago

Four killed in India clash ahead of Trump arrival

  • The new law has raised worries abroad — including in Washington — that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to remold secular India into a Hindu nation while marginalizing the country’s 200 million Muslims, a claim he denies

NEW DELHI: A policeman was among at least four people killed in New Delhi on Monday during violent clashes over a contentious citizenship law, local media said, hours before US President Donald Trump arrived in the Indian capital for an official visit.
Protesters torched at least two houses and shops before later setting a tire market on fire, the Press Trust of India said. Local TV channels showed plumes of black smoke billowing from buildings.
One video posted on social media showed crowds of men shouting “Jai Shree Ram” or “Hail Lord Ram,” a revered Hindu deity, as they went on a rampage.
Protests have broken out across India since the citizenship law came into force in December, leaving at least 30 people killed in clashes with police. Critics say the law discriminates against Muslims.
The new law has raised worries abroad — including in Washington — that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to remold secular India into a Hindu nation while marginalizing the country’s 200 million Muslims, a claim he denies.
The latest unrest erupted between several hundred supporters and opponents of the law in a Muslim-dominated area of northeast Delhi on Sunday, and continued Monday.
A constable died after receiving a critical head injury, while another senior officer was among the injured.
Local media said three civilians also died and many people were hurt.
“Please renounce violence. Nobody benefits from this. All problems will be solved by peace,” Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tweeted that schools in the capital’s northeast would be shut on Tuesday and exams postponed.
Trump arrived in the western state of Gujarat on Monday and addressed about 100,000 people at a rally with Modi before he visited the Taj Mahal monument in Agra.
Later Monday the US president landed in Delhi before official talks in the city on Tuesday.
A senior US official told reporters that Trump would raise concerns about religious freedom in the Hindu-majority nation during the trip, calling them “extremely important to this administration.”