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US House condemns Trump attacks on congresswomen as racist

Media captionThe surprising thing about America’s migrant past

The US House of Representatives has voted to condemn President Donald Trump after a series of attacks aimed at four congresswomen.

The resolution denounced Mr Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimised fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour”.

Mr Trump had been accused of racism and xenophobia for telling the members of congress to leave the country.

The president has since tweeted: “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

Tuesday’s symbolic vote passed by 240 votes to 187 in the Democratic-controlled chamber. Four Republicans and the chamber’s sole independent, former Republican lawmaker Justin Amash, joined all 235 Democrats to approve the resolution.

Texas congressman Will Hurd – the only African American Republican – was joined by his Pennsylvania member Brian Fitzpatrick, Michigan member Fred Upton and Indiana member Susan Brooks.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, the president said Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and should “go back”.

Mr Trump did not explicitly name the women – all four of whom are US citizens – in his initial Twitter tirade, but the context made a clear link to the four Democratic congresswomen, who are known as The Squad.

The congresswomen dismissed the comments as a distraction on Monday, and urged people instead to focus on policies rather than the president’s words.

Media captionAyanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib responded to the attacks at a press conference on Monday

A rancorous debate preceded the vote. Democrat John Lewis said that “at the highest level of government, there’s no room for racism”, while Republican Dan Meuser called the allegations a “ridiculous slander”.

Immediately after the resolution passed Democratic Representative Al Green filed articles of impeachment against President Trump. The Democratic leadership has refused to pursue impeachment, despite increasing calls from members of their party to do so.

Reading from his resolution, the Texas congressman said Mr Trump had “brought the high office of the President of the United States into contempt, ridicule, disgrace and disrepute”.

President Trump tweeted about the vote, praising “how unified the Republican Party was” in voting against the resolution and again attacking the four women for “the horrible things they said about our country, Israel, and much more”.

What did the resolution say?

The resolution “condemning Resident Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress” quoted US founding fathers and former presidents.

Immigration “has defined every stage of American history”, it said, adding that “all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African-Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants”.

It also noted that patriotism is not defined by race or ethnicity “but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion and democracy”.

More on race in the US

“These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting and these comments are racist,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in the debate.

Republicans however said her comments broke rules, with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy saying they went against the “order and decency” of the chamber.

What is the row about?

On Friday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Ms Tlaib and Ms Pressley testified to a House committee about conditions in a migrant detention centre they had visited.

Democrats have widely criticised the Trump administration’s approach to border control, saying they are holding migrants in inhumane conditions.

Mr Trump has defended the actions of his border agents. His administration announced a new rule to take effect on 16 July, which denies asylum to anyone who crosses the southern border without having applied for protection in “at least one third country” on their way to the US.

After their testimony, Mr Trump said conditions at the centre had had “great reviews”. He then posted his series of tweets about the women and Ms Omar, attacks he redoubled on Monday.

Media captionPresident Trump defends his attacks on the four women

“If you are not happy, if you are complaining all the time, you can leave,” he told a heated news conference outside the White House.

An opinion poll in the wake of his tweets suggested support for Mr Trump rose among Republicans by 5%, although dipped among Democrats and independent voters.

US House condemns Trump attacks on congresswomen as racist

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