The controversy over President Trump's tweeted criticism of four progressive lawmakers was poised to ratchet up even more Tuesday as the House prepared to vote on a resolution condemning his words as racist. Before the vote, however, Trump shot back against that accusation. Details and developments:
- The resolution: NPR has the full text. It declares that Trump's "racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."
- Trump: In morning tweets, the president pushed back. "Those Tweets were NOT Racist," Trump wrote. "I don't have a Racist bone in my body!" He referred to Democrats' plan to pass the resolution condemning his tweets as a "con game" and said Republicans "should not show 'weakness' and fall into their trap." He again accused the four lawmakers—Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—of hating the US and said Congress should investigate the women's previous statements instead of his.
- Elaborating: "Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said," the president wrote. Later, talking to reporters, Trump held up papers and said he had "a list of things here said by the congresswomen that is so bad, so horrible that I almost don’t want to read it," per the Washington Post. He did not offer specifics.
- Where to go: Trump's initial tweets urged the four women to "go back" to where they're from if they don't like the US. (Three were born here.) On Tuesday, when reporters asked the president where they should go, he said, "wherever they want, or they can stay. But they should love our country. They shouldn’t hate our country."
- Nancy Pelosi: The House speaker again backed the four freshman lawmakers as she criticized Trump. "The fact is, as offended as we are—and we are offended by what he said about our sisters—he says that about people every day, and they feel as hurt as we do about somebody in our family having this offense against them," per NBC News.
- Coverage: At the Washington Post, Paul Fahri examines mainstream coverage to see how the term "racist" is being handled. CNN, for instance, is routinely calling Trump's original tweets racist, but others are not going as far. On ABC's World News Tonight, for instance, Tom Llamas referred to "tweets critics are calling racist."
- One view: David Remnick of the New Yorker writes that Trump is an "unapologetic racist," but what Remnick finds "curious is just how many people have resisted seeing squarely Trump’s racism, his shrewd exploitation of animosity, hatred, and division for political advantage." Trump's "hostility toward minorities and his capacity to signal that hostility" has long been a crucial part of his politics.
- In defense: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Trump's tweets were not racist. "I believe this is about ideology," he said. "This is about socialism versus freedom." GOP Rep. Liz Cheney added that the party's "opposition to our socialist colleagues has absolutely nothing to do with their gender, with their religion, or with their race, it has to do with the content of their policies."
- In defense, II: A top aide to VP Mike Pence pointed to Trump's appointment of Elaine Chao as transportation secretary, the first Asian-American woman to serve in a Cabinet. "When people write that the president has racist motives, look at who's actually serving in Donald Trump's Cabinet," said Marc Short on Fox Business, per USA Today.
- The politics: Dilbert creator Scott Adams tweets that Trump has a scored a "checkmate" in the controversy by forcing Democratic leaders to embrace the four lawmakers known as "The Squad," who were feuding with Pelosi less than a week ago. "And he only needed to sacrifice four pawns."
- Update: The House passed the resolution around 7pm Eastern, after a two-hour delay and a floor fight. More here.
(This wasn't the first time
Trump addressed the subject Tuesday.)