Tuesday, July 16, 2019

House GOP leader says Trump's tweets were not racist



By Juliegrace Brufke 
07/16/19 
11:58 AM EDT


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday he does not think President Trump tweeted racist remarks when he called on four progressive congresswomen to "go back" to their home countries, even though all are U.S. citizens.

"No," McCarthy said at a Capitol Hill press conference when asked if he thought the tweets were racist.

The GOP leader's comments came just hours ahead of a scheduled vote on a Democratic resolution condemning the president's “racist tweets.” The measure is slated to come to the floor Tuesday evening.

McCarthy's position on Trump's tweets puts him at odds with a handful of GOP lawmakers who have chastised the president, though most have remained silent on the topic.

Rep. Will Hurd (Texas), the only African American House Republican, whose district has a large number of Hispanic residents, blasted Trump’s tweets as “racist” and “xenophobic” in a CNN interview Monday.

“The four women he is referring to are actually citizens of the United States, three of the four were born here,” Hurd said.

Trump’s Sunday remarks were aimed at progressive freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Ayanna Pressley(Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.).

Omar is a naturalized citizen from Somalia.

Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) on Monday tweeted: "@realDonaldTrump’s tweets from this weekend were racist and he should apologize. We must work as a country to rise above hate, not enable it."

McCarthy also weighed in on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) spat last week with Ocasio-Cortez, who accused Pelosi of “the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color.”

“I do not believe the Speaker of the House was racist last week either when those individuals on her side of the aisle, who are claiming the president is racist, when they claimed she was racist,” McCarthy told reporters. “I do not believe that. I believe this is about ideology. This is about socialism versus freedom and it's very clear what the debate is happening."

McCarthy argued that the four lawmakers are using Trump’s recent comments to focus on impeachment.

“I understand when I listened to the press conference yesterday, they talked more about impeachment than anything else," he said, referencing a news conference held Monday evening by the congresswomen.

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