Washington • Utah’s GOP House members voted against a resolution on Tuesday condemning President Donald Trump for his racist tweets over the weekend while the state’s lone Democrat, Rep. Ben McAdams, supported the measure that came down to near party-line vote.
The nonbinding resolution passed 240-187.
The passage of the resolution, a response to Trump’s comments that four nonwhite House members should “go back” to their home countries — despite the fact three are U.S.-born and the fourth a naturalized citizen — came after a day of partisan bickering that brought to the forefront the tensions between supporters of the president and those rebuking him for tweets that enraged Democrats and saw Republicans diving for cover.
McAdams, a freshman moderate, said he voted for the resolution out of frustration with the current political climate, where Republicans and Democrats sparred over rhetoric that comes to define the nature of a divided Washington that has succumbed to tribalist instincts.
“Today was a frustrating day — Exhibit A of what is wrong with Washington,” McAdams said in a statement. “I found the president’s tweet to be offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds. Divisiveness is wrong and distracts from our work for the American people.
“The more time we spend talking about offensive tweets and comments from politicians the less time we spend finding solutions to the nation's serious problems. I'm eager to get back to work doing what voters sent us here to do," McAdams continued.
Utah's GOP House members opposed the resolution and in a joint statement said why.
"Freedom of speech is a pillar of our democracy. We are not trying to censor President Trump or House Democrats,” said Reps. Rob Bishop, John Curtis and Chris Stewart. “But, for the sake of not dividing our nation further, the inflammatory rhetoric needs to stop. From claims that 'Nancy Pelosi is a racist' to 'Border agents are Nazis running concentration camps,' it has gotten out of control. This resolution and these social media wars do nothing to unify our country and only take time and resources away from our true responsibility to get real legislative work done for the people of Utah."
The passage of the resolution, which has no power of law, capped a day of partisan warfare that began with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling the president a racist on the House floor, prompting Republicans to use procedural moves to denounce her comments.
The president, prone to using Twitter as his official mouthpiece, didn't back down as Democrats, some Republicans and others said he had strayed too far from the line that the nation's highest official should hold.
“I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump tweeted.
The latest controversy came after Trump, over the weekend, tweeted that four minority women of Congress – assumed the be Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came.”
Omar was born in Somalia but is a naturalized citizen. The others were born in America.
Trump continued his tirade against the four on Tuesday, accusing them of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate.”
Four Republicans joined Democrats in passing the resolution: Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, the only black GOP member in the House, as well as Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Susan Brooks of Indiana and Fred Upton of Michigan. Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican-turned-independent also supported the resolution.
Amash of Michigan, who quit the GOP earlier this month, also voted for it. Six Republicans did not vote.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was critical of the president on Monday, saying his attack on the congresswomen was
"destructive, was demeaning, was disunifying and frankly was very wrong.”
Utah’s other senator, Mike Lee, was silent on the president’s tweets.