US House to vote on resolution condemning Trump's racist tweets

Announcement of the vote comes as Trump doubles down on his remarks, insisting his tweets were not racist.

    In this combination image from left: Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley [File: AP]
    In this combination image from left: Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley [File: AP]

    US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that the House of Representatives will vote on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of colour.

    Pelosi said Trump "went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language about members of Congress" and said his xenophobic and "disgusting" comments cannot stand without rebuttal.

    Trump on Sunday told four congresswomen to go back to where they came from even though three were born in the United States and all are US citizens.

    Although Trump did not name the women, his tweets were almost certainly referring to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

    Omar, who is a US citizen, is the only one of the four not born in the US.

    Responding to Trump, Omar said in a tweet, "Mr President, As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States. Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen."

    Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "You are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda."

    Despite facing backlash from rights groups, politicians and others, Trump double downed on Monday, suggesting the women should apologise to him for past remarks about Israel and him.

    He later said at the White House, "if you hate our country .. you can leave", adding that he doesn't believe his comments were racist. 

    Pelosi has called on politicians from both major political parties to support the resolution, which will cite former President Ronald Reagan's last speech as president in which he thanked immigrants, adding that if the US "ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost".

    The resolution is sponsored by Democrat Tom Malinowski, who was born in Poland and joined by others born outside the US.

    Condemnation

    Condemnation of Trump's attacks extended far beyond the US.

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Trump's comments about the congresswomen are "not how we do things in Canada".

    "Canadians and indeed people around the world know exactly what I think about those particular comments," Trudeau said on Monday.

    A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said she thinks "the language which was used to refer to the women was completely unacceptable".

    Meanwhile, Republican Senator Linsey Graham, a Trump ally, advised Trump to "aim higher", suggesting the president should "take on [the congresswomen's] policies" instead of launching personal attacks.

    Still, Graham called the members "anti-Semitic" and "anti-American", saying that "AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country."

    The attacks may have been meant to further the divides within the Democrat caucus, strained over internal debates on liberal policies and on whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings against Trump.

    Instead, Democrats, as one voice, denounced the comments.

    #RacistPresident

    Trump's attack was far from the first time that the president has been accused of holding racist views.

    His political career was launched on the backs of falsely claiming that his predecessor, Barack Obama, was not born in the US. In his campaign kickoff in June 2015, he falsely deemed many Mexican immigrants "rapists".

    Last year, during a White House meeting on immigration, he wondered why the US was admitting so many immigrants from "s***hole countries" such as Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations.

    And last week, he held a "social media summit", inviting a number of far-right and conservative personalities, including some known to spread false rumours and conspiracy theories.

    On Twitter, #RacistPresident trended globally, with many immigrants and people of colour sharing their own stories of being told to "go back" to where they came from. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies