Democrats erupt over Trump attacks

Democrats unleashed a fury of criticism on President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans consider skipping witnesses in Trump impeachment trial Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' Lawmakers dismiss Chinese retaliatory threat to US tech MORE throughout the day on Monday as his attacks on a group of minority congresswomen served to unite a divided caucus against the White House.  

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field Trump supporters at Pa. rally 'upset' after Democrats introduce impeachment articles California GOP candidate arrested on stalking charges MORE (D-Calif.) announced that the House would vote on a resolution to formally condemn Trump for tweeting that four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to their countries.

The text of the resolution obtained by The Hill "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 day was punctuated by a dramatic appearance at the Capitol by the four freshman lawmakers targeted by Trump, who one-by-one ripped into the president for distracting the country with a racist attack.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is the agenda of white nationalists,” Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (D-Minn.) said of what she called Trump’s “blatantly racist attack.”

“Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy,” said another of the four women, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Democrats reach cusp of impeachment Progressives hopeful for deal with Pelosi to avert showdown on drug prices MORE (D-N.Y.). “He does not know how to defend his policies, so what he does is attack us personally.”

Trump’s attacks provided an opportunity for Pelosi to unite a caucus that itself was riven by infighting last week, much of it between herself and Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Reps. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleySanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire Booker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing Live coverage: Democrats, Republicans seek to win PR battle in final House impeachment hearing MORE (Mich.), who were also at Monday evening’s news conference.

“This weekend, the president went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language about Members of Congress,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to colleagues. “The House cannot allow the president’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand."

She said the House would vote on a resolution from Reps. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiDemocrats reach cusp of impeachment Pelosi's whiplash moment brings praise and criticism Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing MORE (D-N.J.), who was born in Poland, and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers MORE (D-Md.), as well as other lawmakers born in other countries, to condemn Trump’s “disgusting attacks.”

The Speaker sought to highlight fractures among Republicans as she moved to unify her own divided caucus. Some rank-and-file Republicans spoke out against Trump’s tweets on Monday after initial widespread silence the day before, with two directly calling the attacks “racist.” But most House and Senate GOP leaders had yet to comment on Trump’s tweets.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyCollege Republicans launch campaign calling for GOP to take action on climate change Pelosi's whiplash moment brings praise and criticism GOP calls for minority hearing on impeachment, threatens procedural measures MORE (R-Calif.) declined to say on Monday whether he would support the resolution to condemn Trump's comments.

"You're asking me about a vote on something that hasn't been written yet," McCarthy told reporters. "I think what needs to happen is a little cooler heads, let's work on the issues that are causing problems in this country."

When asked why he hadn't issued a response on Sunday to Trump's tweets, McCarthy tried to turn it back on the reporter who asked the question. "Did you ask me a question yesterday?" he asked. And when the reporter pointed out that his office could have put out a statement, McCarthy replied, "Now you're going to judge whether I do or do not something?"

“Our Republican colleagues must join us in condemning the president’s xenophobic tweets,” Pelosi wrote.

While Democrats were united on Monday, they do face a number of pressures that could pull them apart once again in the coming weeks.

Within minutes after Pelosi informed Democrats of the resolution condemning Trump, Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenDemocrats reach cusp of impeachment Feehery: Losing faith in the people and the Constitution Warren, Buttigieg fight echoes 2004 campaign, serves as warning for 2020 race MORE (D-Texas) announced that he will force a vote on impeaching Trump in the coming days. 

Pelosi and her allies have sought to keep the House from voting on Trump’s impeachment, seeing it as something that could put centrist Democrats on the spot and play into the GOP’s hands.

A series of upcoming debates over the minimum wage, border security and the debt limit also are likely to highlight differences between centrists and liberals in the House Democratic caucus.

And on Friday, the official Twitter feed for House Democratic Caucus rebuked Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff for a weeks-old tweet criticizing a vulnerable centrist lawmaker.

Ocasio-Cortez’s aide, Saikat Chakrabarti, fired back that “I’m not interested in substance-less Twitter spats.”

Both Tlaib — who drew attention on her first day in Congress by pledging to “impeach the motherf----r” — and Omar reiterated their support for Trump’s impeachment at Monday’s press conference.

“Sadly, this is not the first nor will it be the last time we hear disgusting, bigoted language from the president. We know this is who he is,” Tlaib said. “I urge House leadership, many of my colleagues, to take action to impeach this lawless president today.”

Green previously forced House floor votes on impeachment in December 2017 and January 2018 when Republicans still controlled the chamber. Both procedural votes failed but each garnered the support of about 60 Democrats.

Green on Monday announced that he would force a third vote before the House leaves for the August recess. He cited Trump’s tweets as more evidence of “bigotry in policy” and said that they made him reach a “boiling point.”

“We’ll give people the opportunity and we’ll find out who’s willing to do something about bigotry,” Green said at a press conference.

Pelosi and Democratic leaders opposed Green’s previous efforts to force floor votes on impeachment. But this will be the first time he’s forced a vote since Democrats took over the House majority. While 83 Democrats — and independent Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashGroup of Democrats floating censure of Trump instead of impeachment: report Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump MORE (Mich.) — are on the record supporting an impeachment inquiry, Pelosi and most other lawmakers remain opposed as they continue with investigations.

That will make it a tough vote for Democrats struggling with impeachment yet forced to go on the record by their own colleague.

Green remained defiant and said that Pelosi’s opposition wouldn’t stop him.

“I don’t know that all of the members will be governed by one person’s opinion,” Green said of Pelosi. “All members should vote their conscience. And my belief is that Speaker Pelosi will encourage people to vote their consciences.”

—Updated at 8:48 p.m.