Upton, Amash join Dems in resolution condemning Trump’s racist remarks against congresswomen

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. | Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Tuesday night voted largely along partisan lines to approve a resolution that condemns President Trump’s “racist comments directed at Members of Congress.” 

Donald Trump | Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Trump’s remarks — which targeted U.S. Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) — have dominated the political discourse on Capitol Hill this week. Democrats have overwhelmingly excoriated the president, while many Republicans have defended him or sought to avoid the issue. 

The resolution passed the chamber by a vote of 240-187, with the Michigan delegation split 9-5. Four Republicans and one independent joining their Democratic colleagues in publicly condemning Trump after he suggested that four Democratic congresswomen “go back” to the “places from which they came.” 

That included two members from Michigan — U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) and U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.), who recently left the GOP.

Tlaib on Trump’s ‘bigoted’ tweetstorm: ‘We know this is who he is’

“Today’s resolution was targeted at the specific words that frankly are not acceptable from a leader in any workplace, large or small,” Upton said in a statement. “If we’re going to bring civility back to the center of our politics, we must speak out against inflammatory rhetoric from anyone in any party anytime it happens. America embraces diversity, and that must continue. 

U.S.. Rep. Fred Upton | Andrew Roth

Upton ended by quoting former President Ronald Reagan: “Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. … If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”

In a weekend tweetstorm Trump wrote, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he added. “… These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”

Tlaib was born in Detroit, Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City and Omar was born in Somalia.

Tlaib strikes back at Trump for telling progressive congresswomen to ‘go back’ to where they were born

When asked by reporters about his comments on Monday, Trump doubled down.

“If you’re not happy here, then you can leave,” Trump said. “As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave.”

The resolution, a stinging rebuke against the president, states that the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘‘go back’’ to other countries.” 

The three other U.S. House Republicans who broke ranks with their party to support the resolution were U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Will Hurd of Texas. 

3 Michigan Republicans disappointed with Trump’s racist tweets against Tlaib, AOC

On Monday, Upton, U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) and U.S. Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) expressed disappointment for Trump’s remarks. However, both Huizenga and Mitchell voted against Tuesday’s resolution.

“America needs less politics and more solutions. In my view, the past six months in the House have been more about scoring political points and performing political theatre than solving problems. I view this resolution as a continuation of that flawed behavior which is why I voted against it.  Everyone needs to come to the table and get to work on the issues West Michigan and the nation expect Congress to address.”

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman |Andrew Roth

U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) said that U.S. House Democratic leadership chose “to push meaningless resolutions to score cheap political points, further dividing our nation. 

“To be clear, my opposition to this resolution has nothing to do with my colleagues’ gender, religion, or race, nor does it have anything to do with President Trump’s tweets,” he said in a statement. “I just flat out don’t agree with the content of my liberal colleagues’ policies. … Opposition to their beliefs does not equal racism.”

But U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield) said she was “absolutely appalled at the behavior of the person who currently occupies the Oval Office. His condescending, racist, and xenophobic comments have no place in a civilized society.”

Brenda Lawrence
U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence at the Detroit NAACP dinner | Andrew Roth

Lawrence said Trump’s remarks were “particularly hurtful” to her as an African-American woman who has “been told to ‘go home,’ though I was born in Detroit and I am a fifth-generation American.”

She added that it follows a pattern from Trump, who spread birther conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama and called U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) “low IQ.” 

Robin Bravender
Michigan native Robin Bravender is the DC Bureau Chief for the Newsroom, a consortium of 10 nonprofit news publications, including the Michigan Advance. Previously, Robin was a reporter for Politico, E&E News and Thomson Reuters.
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Susan J. Demas is an 18-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

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