Donald Trump condemned by Congress as he says he does not have 'racist bone' in his body

Ben Riley-Smith
US speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (C) walks with reporters, before the Democrat controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning US President Donald Trump for his

Donald Trump has been condemned by Congress for his "racist" tweets, with the House voting to admonish the president for his remarks about four minority Congresswomen.

Four Republicans and one Independent sided with the Democrats to pass the resolution.

Mr Trump earlier on Tuesday insisted he does not have a “racist bone” in his body, as he doubled down on attacks against the four Democrat congresswomen of colour, amid a lack of criticism from Republicans. 

The US president denied his initial tweet telling left-wing congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they were from was racist and instead continued to suggest his political opponents “hate our country”. 

Mr Trump’s lack of remorse was coupled with relative silence from leading Republicans in Congress - taken as a sign by some commentators of how dominant the president’s hold on the party has become

Republicans whipped their representatives to try and ensure they voted to support the president.

US speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (C) walks with reporters, before the Democrat controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning US President Donald Trump for his "racist comments"  Credit: AFP

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, the two Tory MPs vying to replace Theresa May as prime minister, joined the chorus of condemnation over the remarks, which have been called xenophobic. 

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, described his words as "divisive and dangerous" and said he had no respect for American values.

"I urge everyone in this House to condemn his racist remarks," she said. "To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of American values."

Mr Trump is scrambling to contain the political backlash and had urged Republicans to reject the resolution in the House of Representatives saying his “racists comments” had “increased fear and hatred” among new Americans. 

He also faces a new vote in the House, which is controlled by the Democrats, on whether to begin impeachment proceedings - the mechanism for removing him from office. A Democrat congressmen pledged to table the vote next week, though it seems unlikely to pass. 

Mr Trump’s initial tweet on Sunday telling progressive Democrat congresswomen “who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” to “go back” to where they come from did not name his targets. 

But four congresswomen known as ‘the squad - lhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts - have since challenged Mr Trump. All four are US citizens and only Ms Omar was born overseas, in Somalia.

Addressing the outcry over his initial remarks, Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “Those tweets were NOT racist. I don’t have a racist bone in my body!”

He also renewed attacks on the congresswomen. “The Democrat congresswomen have been spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate, and yet they get a free pass and a big embrace from the Democrat Party,” he wrote in one tweet. 

Another read: “Our country is free, beautiful and very successful. If you hate our country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!”

The comments have been seen by some political strategists as part of an attempt by Mr Trump to frame the Democratic Party as out of step with America as he seeks re-election in November 2020. 

Mr Trump has repeatedly dubbed Democrats “radical socialists”, playing up the influence of the party’s resurgent left-wing and exploiting divisions among his political opponents over what policy platform to adopt for the next presidential election.

There were pockets of criticism among Republicans, with Charlie Baker, the Massachusetts governor, calling Mr Trump's remarks “shameful” and “racist”.

Mr Trump doubled down on his remarks Credit: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Anthony Scaramucci, Mr Trump’s former White House communications director, broke ranks on Tuesday to call the president’s comments “racist and unacceptable”.

But many more Republican congressmen did not go that far.  Mitt Romney, the former Republican presidential candidate who was once a vehement critic of Mr Trump and is now a US senator, called the remarks “demeaning” but repeatedly refused to say they were racist. 

Kevin McCarthy, the most senior Republican in the House, said also said the comments were not racist. Instead he said the row was about “ideology”, adding: “It’s about socialism versus freedom” - a stance echoed by other Republican congressmen. 

Al Green, a Democratic congressman from Texas, announced he will force a vote on bringing forward articles of impeachment against Mr Trump next week. 

“The President of the United States is a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, as well as an invidious prevaricator,” Mr Green said, adding Mr Trump was unquestionably “unfit for office”. 

However he has twice pushed forward similar votes and is unexpected to secure victory this time, given the Democratic leadership currently opposes impeachment.