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 TrumpDems want tougher language on election security in defense bill Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP The myth of the conservative bestseller 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) MalinowskiVulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote Democrats reach cusp of impeachment Pelosi's whiplash moment brings praise and criticism MORE (D-N.J.) 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.), 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 likely to gain seats under new North Carolina maps North Carolina poised to pass new congressional maps Black leaders say African American support in presidential primary is fluid 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 CohenOvernight Defense: Mattis downplays Afghanistan papers | 'We probably weren't that good at' nation building | Judiciary panel approves two impeachment articles | Stage set for House vote next week Democrats approve two articles of impeachment against Trump in Judiciary vote Democrat suggests Republicans took acting classes based on ability to 'suspend disbelief' 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 HoyerDemocrats get the health care fight they want with prescription drug bill Media organization fights Trump administration over Ukraine documents FOIA On The Money: Trump, China announce 'Phase One' trade deal | Supreme Court takes up fight over Trump financial records | House panel schedules hearing, vote on new NAFTA deal 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 PascrellTrump-Pelosi trade deal creates strife among progressives House panel votes to temporarily repeal SALT deduction cap On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday 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 PelosiTrump-Pelosi trade deal creates strife among progressives Trump: Pelosi's teeth were 'falling out of her mouth' during press conference Schiff: I 'hope to hell' I would have voted to impeach Obama if he had committed same actions as Trump MORE (D-Calif.) as a target of some liberals — most notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez to hold campaign rallies in Los Angeles, Las Vegas Overwhelming majority say social media companies have too much influence: poll 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 TlaibIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll MORE (D-Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (D-Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire Booker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair 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 JayapalImpeachment obliterates tinges of comity in House House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay 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.