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 TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' 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) MalinowskiTestimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense Pelosi: No House vote on impeachment inquiry Democrats gauge support for vote on impeachment inquiry MORE (D-N.J.) and Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinEx-Trump aide on Russia testifies for 10 hours as part of impeachment inquiry Oversight panel to subpoena Trump officials next week over deportation deferrals Democrats plow ahead as Trump seeks to hobble impeachment effort MORE (D-Md.), which denounces as “racist” Trump's call for four minority Democrats to “go back” to their countries of origin.

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“We have unanimity on the resolution,” said Rep. G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldDemocrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun Democrats dread Kennedy-Markey showdown in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report — Trump's new controversy 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 CohenTop Democrat holds moment of silence for Cummings at hearing The Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing 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 HoyerHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg defends handling of misinformation in political ads | Biden camp hits Zuckerberg over remarks | Dem bill would jail tech execs for lying about privacy | Consumer safety agency accidentally disclosed personal data House leaders offer tributes from floor to Elijah Cummings Maloney to serve as acting Oversight chairwoman after Cummings's death 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 PascrellLawmakers, social media users praise photo of Pelosi confronting Trump Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China Hillary Clinton swipes at NBA over Hong Kong controversy 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 PelosiDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' Mattis responds to Trump criticism: 'I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals' MORE (D-Calif.) as a target of some liberals — most notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Booker endorses Lipinski challenger Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings 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 TlaibOcasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 Krystal Ball on Sanders debate performance: 'He absolutely hit it out of the park' MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarKrystal Ball reacts to Ocasio-Cortez endorsing Sanders: 'Class power over girl power' The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Krystal Ball on Sanders debate performance: 'He absolutely hit it out of the park' MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOcasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Omar endorses Sanders presidential bid 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 JayapalOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems advance drug pricing bill | Cases of vaping-related lung illnesses near 1,500 | Juul suspends sales of most e-cigarette flavors Warren faces tougher sell with 'Medicare for All' Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Buttigieg targets Warren, Sanders on health care ahead of debate | Judge overturns ObamaCare transgender protections | Poll sees support drop for 'Medicare for All' 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.