Yeah, once the Squad decided they were going to start handing the GOP soundbites on this matter, I think Pelosi’s mind was made up about holding this vote ASAP and moving on to something else. Her attitude towards Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar is a mirror image of her attitude towards impeachment: She thinks Democrats are on track for victory next fall so long as they can refrain from handing Trump free turnout fuel for the right. If the election is a referendum on Trump then Dems win, Pelosi thinks. If it’s a referendum on whether Democrats are wild-eyed radicals, Trump wins. All Pelosi strategy flows from that.
In fact, all things being equal, I wonder if she’d prefer to skip this vote and just let Trump’s “go back to your home countries” tweets speak for themselves. But she can’t do that; the indirect rebuke Omar received by the House for her “dual loyalty” comments a few months ago requires that Trump be rebuked at least as harshly. So they’re going to put this resolution on the floor today, enjoy a moment of Democratic solidarity, and hopefully pivot to other business.
You’ll find the complete draft text at the last link. Key bit:
There’s a series of quotes from Reagan in the “Whereas” section extolling immigration as well. Will that entice the House GOP into voting for it? Ah, no:
.@kasie: Were the president's tweets racist?
House Minority Leader McCarthy: "No." pic.twitter.com/723Mkuivc2
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 16, 2019
“I believe this is about ideology,” says McCarthy. “This is about socialism versus freedom.” That’s the message Trump’s aides have been pushing as they scramble to clean up this mess, that Trump’s objection is fundamentally about the Squad’s leftism, not their race. Whether his aides actually believe that is a separate question:
Indeed, numerous campaign officials and White House allies were disappointed with Trump’s Sunday Twitter attack on four progressive congresswomen — Reps. Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez…
Several advisers and allies expressed concern that the president was undoing months of campaign work to frame the upcoming election as a choice between an America-loving, pro-capitalist president, and a Democratic Party beholden to fringe socialists who hate America and despise capitalism. The comments also had the ancillary effect of uniting a fractious Democratic Caucus that had spent the week engaged in intraparty squabbling between party leaders and the progressive members that Trump was going after.
“I’m disappointed he injected himself [in] Dem on Dem violence,” said a Republican who speaks with Trump regularly. “Anything the president does that distracts from the larger and broader issue is always a gift” for Democrats.
Trump’s initial series of tweets on Sunday did refer to “Progressive” Democratic congresswomen but he wasn’t focused on ideology. His point was that immigrant malcontents like Omar from “sh*thole countries” have no right to criticize the way a nation as great as America is run until they clean up their own backyards, and cultures. If all he wanted to say was that progressives hate America, he could have said that without bringing national origin into it. As Bill Kristol drily noted this morning on Twitter, it’s curious that progressives’ foremost modern idol, the extremely white Bernie Sanders, somehow escaped this “go back where you came from” critique from Trump whereas Omar and three native-born but dark-skinned Americans like AOC, Tlaib, and Pressley did not.
But the official party line from On High is that Trump is certainly not racist. Let any Republican member of Congress who dares conclude otherwise tremble at the thought of the primary they might endure for it.
Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show “weakness” and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019
…..Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country. Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said. Omar is polling at 8%, Cortez at 21%. Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party. See you in 2020!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019
I don’t know why he keeps coming back to their “filthy language,” an objection which even his most devout fans won’t take seriously coming from him. Just stick to their ideological sins. And if he’s going to quote that poll about AOC and Omar, he should at least describe it accurately. It was a poll of whites without a college degree — an important group and the core of Trump’s base, but not at all a fair sample of all Americans. Unless he thinks whites without a college degree are the only group whose opinion he should care about. Which, maybe he does.
Stand by for updates on the floor vote. It won’t be straight party-line, I expect: The few remaining GOP moderates, like Will Hurd, will probably cross over. But it’ll be mostly party-line. Exit question via Jonathan Last: If Republicans are afraid of criticizing Trump on this because it’ll break the party if they do, what do they make of the fact that … the party is already partly broken and seemingly on its way to being fully broken in time? “[I]f you disagree with President Trump on whether or not your political opponents should ‘go back to their own country’ then as of right now you are out of step with your party,” says Last. “And that bill will come due eventually.”
Update: Pelosi’s warming up for the vote.
Speaker Pelosi on House floor:
"These comments from the White House are disgraceful … these comments are racist. How shameful to hear him continue to defend those offensive words – words that we have all heard him repeat not only about our members, but about countless others." pic.twitter.com/2BmaJIPNSn
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 16, 2019
Update: Nothing would be funnier than if Dems got tripped up by House rules of decorum in trying to rebuke Trump for telling a congresswoman to go back to Africa.
Much of the consternation among Democrats on the floor seems to be that there is a rule that prevents calling someone a racist. Lots of chatter between the parliamentarians office and Dems about this. pic.twitter.com/XIwoHRl0UC
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2019
There’s some confusion as I write this over whether the rules bar the *resolution* from being voted on or merely Pelosi’s floor remarks introducing the resolution, since she described Trump as racist as well.
Update: Turning fiasco-y!
Well, the House is having a day. @repcleaver was presiding over the chamber, then announced that he was "abandoning the chair" and threw the gavel down. Two sides fighting over Pelosi calling Trump's tweets racist in resolution.
— Elizabeth Crisp (@elizabethcrisp) July 16, 2019
Update: What is going on?
Pelosi appears to have left the floor..which is a violation of House Rules themselves when someone’s words are taken down. That’s partly could be why this is taking so long. This is not just a rank and file member. This is the House Speaker.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) July 16, 2019
Update: Sweet fancy Moses. The Speaker’s about to be rebuked!
Hoyer issues ruling AGAINST Pelosi from the chair, saying her words were not in order.
The House is now *voting* on whether to strike Pelosi’s words (calling Trump’s tweets racist) from the record.
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) July 16, 2019
Update: And there it is.
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 16, 2019
Is Pelosi now … barred from speaking on the floor of the House for the rest of the day? Kevin McCarthy says yes.
Update: Although Pelosi clearly broke the rules in calling Trump a racist, her caucus controls the House and therefore they’re going to protect her no matter what. Her words won’t be stricken from the record:
By party line vote of 232-190, House Democrats defeat motion to strike @SpeakerPelosi's words from the record for characterizing Pres Trump's tweets as "racist." It was ruled earlier that use of that characterization is not in order in floor debate.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) July 16, 2019
What a nifty irony that on a day they’re rebuking Trump for a breach of decorum, Dems just rubber-stamped their own leader’s breach of decorum.
Update: They’ve finally voted on denouncing Trump and it went party-line — almost. Justin Amash, the chamber’s lone independent, voted with Democrats along with four Republicans. One was indeed Will Hurd.