Republican reps call vote over tweets a distraction

WASHINGTON — West Virginia Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday against a resolution condemning a tweet by President Trump as racist.

House Resolution 489 passed the House 240 to 187 on political lines with four Republicans voting for it.

Trump this weekend in a tweet referring to freshmen Democrats Reps. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan told them to go back to the “crime-infested” places from where they came. The four are American citizens and only Omar is a naturalized citizen, having been a Somalian refugee.

The resolution said 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, 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.”

Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller, all Republicans from West Virginia, and Republican Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio voted against the resolution.

Miller spoke on the floor of the House and said “This resolution is a waste of time.”

“Since the day he was sworn in, President Trump has been under relentless pressure from Democrats and the media,” McKinley said. “It appears this pressure must have gotten the best of him with his inarticulate and counterproductive response over the weekend. We can highlight the extreme positions of the Democrats without resorting to comments like these. Both sides should tone down the rhetoric.”

Miller, who said such legislation makes it no surprise people have a low approval of Congress, cited a crisis at the border.

“Instead we’re here debating political nonsense,” she said.

Mooney tweeted “Congress should come together and work with the president to secure the border.”

Republicans voting for the resolution were Reps. Susan Brooks of Indiana, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan. Independent Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who recently left the Republican Party, also voted for the resolution.

Jess Mancini can be reached at jmancini@newsandsentinel.com