Resolution condemning Trump’s tweets splits Virginia delegation on party lines

The dome of the United States Capitol in Washington. (Wikimedia Commons)

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.” 

The resolution passed the chamber by a vote of 240-187, with 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.” Virginia’s delegation split on party lines.

Trump’s comments — which targeted Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — 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, 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 four House Republicans who broke ranks with their party to support the resolution were Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan. Justin Amash, a Michigan independent who recently abandoned the GOP, also voted in favor of the resolution.

U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-5th, who flashed libertarian leanings during his run for Congress and a prior campaign for governor, told the Mercury he would vote against the resolution, referencing an intraparty, racially-tinged spat last week between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and the same four female lawmakers.

“I think when we look at ‘Nancy Pelosi was racist last week, Donald Trump’s racist this week,’ I think we have to have a better dialogue and I think at this point people have had enough of the name calling back and forth. And I’m sick of the resolutions, I think everybody else is, too,” Riggleman said, adding that he thought Trump’s tweets were about ideology.

“I also think that’s a false notion that when he starts talking about ideology — he was talking about really socialism and Marxism — he wasn’t talking about their color or where they came from or their ethnicity.”