House GOP leader says Trump's tweets were not racist

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthySaagar Enjeti expresses concern over MSNBC hosting debate after Weinstein scandal Former Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Saagar Enjeti blasts alleged Epstein cover-up by media MORE (R-Calif.) said Tuesday he does not think President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE tweeted racist remarks when he called on four progressive congresswomen to "go back" to their home countries, even though all are U.S. citizens.

"No," McCarthy said at a Capitol Hill press conference when asked if he thought the tweets were racist.

ADVERTISEMENT

The GOP leader's comments came just hours ahead of a scheduled vote on a Democratic resolution condemning the president's “racist tweets.” The measure is slated to come to the floor Tuesday evening.

McCarthy's position on Trump's tweets puts him at odds with a handful of GOP lawmakers who have chastised the president, though most have remained silent on the topic.

Rep. Will Hurd (Texas), the only African American House Republican, whose district has a large number of Hispanic residents, blasted Trump’s tweets as “racist” and “xenophobic” in a CNN interview Monday.

“The four women he is referring to are actually citizens of the United States, three of the four were born here,” Hurd said.

Trump’s Sunday remarks were aimed at progressive freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSteyer, Biden clash over climate credentials Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Sanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBooker responds to Onion article mocking Buttigieg over stock photo Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension MORE (Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyAyanna Pressley introduces extensive criminal justice reform resolution Ocasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability MORE(Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension Ayanna Pressley introduces extensive criminal justice reform resolution MORE (Mich.).

Omar is a naturalized citizen from Somalia.

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) on Monday tweeted: "@realDonaldTrump’s tweets from this weekend were racist and he should apologize. We must work as a country to rise above hate, not enable it."

McCarthy also weighed in on Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal MORE’s (D-Calif.) spat last week with Ocasio-Cortez, who accused Pelosi of “the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”

“I do not believe the Speaker of the House was racist last week either when those individuals on her side of the aisle, who are claiming the president is racist, when they claimed she was racist,” McCarthy told reporters. “I do not believe that. I believe this is about ideology. This is about socialism versus freedom and it's very clear what the debate is happening."

McCarthy argued that the four lawmakers are using Trump’s recent comments to focus on impeachment.

“I understand when I listened to the press conference yesterday, they talked more about impeachment than anything else," he said, referencing a news conference held Monday evening by the congresswomen.