How Trump suddenly brought Democrats together on a resolution condemning him

How Trump suddenly brought Democrats together on a resolution condemning him
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House Democrats united quickly Tuesday behind a resolution condemning President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE's attacks on several female lawmakers of color.

After huddling behind closed doors in the Capitol basement, Democrats of all ideological stripes praised the legislation, sponsored by Reps. Tom MalinowskiThomas (Tom) MalinowskiSecond Democrat representing Trump district backs impeachment Republicans plot comeback in New Jersey Democrats call for Pelosi to cut recess short to address white nationalism MORE (D-N.J.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinHouse panel investigating decision to resume federal executions Pelosi, allies seek to keep gun debate focused on McConnell Pelosi backers feel vindicated after tumultuous stretch MORE (D-Md.), which denounces as “racist” Trump's call for four minority Democrats to “go back” to their countries of origin.

“We have unanimity on the resolution,” said Rep. G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldDemocrats call for increased security after 'send her back' chants The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment MORE (D-N.C.), a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Any time the president of the United States stoops to the level that President Trump has, it's unacceptable and it must be condemned — not only by those that were directly affected, but by the institution.”

Democratic leaders did face a bit of pressure from some liberal members to pursue a more aggressive strategy. Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenHobbled NRA shows strength with Trump House Democrats inch toward majority support for impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller Time: Dems, GOP ready questions for high-stakes testimony MORE (D-Tenn.), for instance, introduced a censure proposal Monday night, and stood up at Tuesday's caucus gathering to make his pitch. 

Yet Democratic leaders argued there was little difference between condemnation and censure — except that the former might attract more Republican support. 

“We think condemnation and censure are pretty much the same thing,” House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday morning. 

Other lawmakers found the differences between the competing strategies more compelling, but even those pushing for the stronger censure resolution — and even those backing impeachment — quickly rallied behind the condemnation resolution. 

“Some people feel strongly that censure is a tougher response. And I would agree with that,” said Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellBottom Line Democrats denounce Trump's attack on Cummings: 'These are not the words of a patriot' Two Democrats vow to press forward on Trump impeachment MORE (D-N.J.). “But I'm going to support the condemnation.

“It sends a very, very clear message.”

Butterfield, who supports the launch of an impeachment inquiry targeting the president, offered a similar assessment. 

“Personally, I wish it would go further. But I'm a consensus-builder, and the consensus in my caucus is that the resolution as presented will suffice for the moment,” he said. “It will be a test to see if the Republicans support it and condemn racist behavior.”

GOP leaders have rushed to Trump's defense, saying the tweets were not racist. They are whipping against the condemnation resolution, and during Tuesday’s vote moved to strike remarks by Pelosi calling Trump’s words racist from the record.

The House parliamentarian ruled that Pelosi had violated rules prohibiting personal attacks, but the House voted against striking her words in a party-line vote.

The unity follows several weeks of internal turmoil within the House Democratic Caucus, sparked largely by sharp disagreements last month over the appropriate response to the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The June border fight featured a fierce clash between liberals and moderates over how best to protect migrant children; sparked a highly unusual public fight between the factions on social media; and found Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes Hobbled NRA shows strength with Trump MORE (D-Calif.) as a target of some liberals — most notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez blasts Electoral College as a 'scam' Trump slams Tlaib after press conference on Israel ban: I don't buy her tears Scaramucci calls on GOP to save country from Trump 'depredations' MORE (D-N.Y.) — for siding with the moderates on which bill would get a vote.

Those tensions all carried into July, following the Independence Day recess, threatening both to cleave the party and steal the oxygen from their ambitious legislative agenda, including a vote this week on raising the minimum wage. 

Trump's remarks about the congresswomen — Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMaher hits back at Tlaib: Does she 'want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMaher hits back at Tlaib: Does she 'want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna Pressley'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib Trump slams Tlaib after press conference on Israel ban: I don't buy her tears MORE (D-Mass.) — proved to be a unifying spark.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” the president tweeted Sunday.

Three of the four lawmakers — Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley — were all born in the United States. Omar, a Somali national, fled violence in that country and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. 

“We have a diverse caucus and there are disagreements, for sure, about which direction we should go," said Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalLawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Medicare for all: fears and facts House Democrats urge Trump to end deportations of Iraqis after diabetic man's death MORE (D-Wash.), a co-chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus. “But his tweet refocused everybody on exactly where the enemy is, and I think that was important.”

Pelosi quickly embraced the kumbaya moment, referring to the four rabble-rousing freshmen as “our sisters” while racing to defend them in the face of Trump's attacks. 

“He says that about people every day, and they feel as hurt as we do about somebody in our family having this offense against them,” Pelosi said during Tuesday's caucus meeting.