WASHINGTON D.C. — Fourth District Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, joined almost all of his Republican colleagues Tuesday in the U.S. House in voting against a resolution titled “Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress,” which passed 240-187 along party lines.
The vote came in the wake of a series of tweets Sunday in which President Donald Trump criticized New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar for “telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run…”
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump wrote. “Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”
Of the four congresswomen, three were born in the United States. Omar, the lone exception, came to the U.S. from Somalia when she was 10 and became a citizen when she was 17. Democrats widely denounced the comments as a racist, xenophobic trope that was used to denigrate four congresswomen of color who have been critical of the current administration.
Though all but four Republicans in Congress stopped short of voting to condemn the statements on the House floor, many still distanced themselves from the tweets. In a statement ahead of the vote, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers called the comments “wrong,” saying they distracted from civil discourse about policies, but also called Tuesday’s resolution insincere and pointless.
For his part, Newhouse suggested in a statement released ahead of the vote that Trump’s comments weren’t respectful, but blamed both sides of the aisle for the state of the national discourse.
“I do not believe President Trump nor Speaker Pelosi are racist, but as a member of the House Civility & Respect Caucus, I believe Members of Congress and the Executive Branch should maintain mutual level of respect for one another – regardless of disagreements,” Newhouse said. “I empathize with my colleague, Representative Cleaver, in his frustration with both parties in Congress, who seemingly just want to fight.”
Despite his call for civility, and though he said that he did not believe Pelosi was racist, Newhouse spoke differently about other members of the Democratic caucus.
“I strongly disagree with the far-left ideals of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, and I oppose most of their policy proposals – not because of their race, gender, or religion, but because I believe the socialist, anti-Semitic, and anti-American ideas expressed, accepted, and promoted by members of the Democrat majority are not right for the American people,” Newhouse wrote in a prepared statement.
Emry Dinman can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.