U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi departs her weekly press conference on Jan. 31, 2019 in Washington.
Win McNamee

Following Trump’s racist antics, Pelosi to get House GOP on the record

The Washington Post put together a list of congressional Republicans responding to the latest example of Donald Trump’s racism, putting GOP lawmakers in four separate groups. The tallies continue to fluctuate a bit, but as of this morning, the number of Republicans who’ve condemned the president (10) is roughly in line with the number of Republicans who’ve endorsed Trump’s comments (12). A couple dozen criticized Trump and Democrats simultaneously.

But as we discussed earlier, the vast majority of GOP members – at last count, over 200 – didn’t comment, dodged questions, or made vague comments that left their position unclear.

In Nancy Pelosi’s House, that won’t be an option much longer.

The House on Tuesday will vote on a disapproval resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s ‘racist comments’ in which he said that a group of freshmen congresswomen of color should “go back” where “they came” from.

The resolution twice refers to ‘racist comments’ from Trump but it does not call the president a racist.

The vote is reportedly scheduled for the early evening.

The point of the resolution, of course, is to condemn the president’s racist antics. The measure will have no force of law, but it’s a symbolic effort, allowing the House of Representatives to formally register its disgust.

But as a political matter, the resolution will also force reticent Republicans – the overwhelming majority of whom are closely aligned with Trump and his agenda – to pick a side.

The effort will simultaneously unite Democrats, allowing the House majority to put aside intra-party divisions and stand shoulder to shoulder against a Republican president’s ugly tactics, directed at four of their own.

It’s also worth paying close attention to the language of the resolution itself.

The whole thing is a bit too long to reproduce here, but I’d draw your attention to the heart of the resolution:

Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color: Now, therefore, be it resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations;

(2) is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and

(3) 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, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by 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.

As Amber Phillips smartly noted, “It doesn’t ask the House to condemn the president wholesale, but rather these specific tweets. How do House Republicans vote against that?”

We’ll find out in about 10 hours.

Postscript: For those of you who like to follow the trajectory of bills closely, the resolution condemning Trump is H. RES. 489. As of this morning, it has 15 sponsors – each of whom are Democrats – though I suspect that number will grow as the day progresses.