Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, joined most of her Republican colleagues Tuesday evening in voting against a formal condemnation President Donald Trump’s “racist” tweets.
House Resolution 489, which passed nearly along party lines 240-187, condemned Trump for comments “that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should ‘go back’ to other countries,” the bill states.
The resolution was referring to a series of tweets from Trump over the weekend, in which he singled out four Democratic congresswomen of color who have opposed his policies.
He wrote that the congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — should “go back” to the countries they came from instead of “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how to govern.
The tweets were inaccurate; three of the four women were born in the United States. The tweets also deployed a well-known and resilient racist trope, implying that nonwhite people can’t really be U.S. citizens and should “go back” to their country of origin. All four congresswomen are U.S. citizens.
In an email to The Columbian on Tuesday morning, Herrera Beutler wrote that she was voting against the House resolution. She said that she disagreed with the tweets, but stopped short of identifying the comments as racist.
“The president was wrong to tweet as he did this weekend, but I will not be voting for the resolution because it further contributes to our country’s racial division — the same thing the House Democrats accuse the president of doing,” Herrera Beutler wrote.
“The president wrongly singled out four individual members of Congress who disagree with him politically, but this House Resolution is a political stunt suggesting that every person of color and new American was attacked.”
Herrera Beutler added that she’d be sending a letter to the president “explaining why I believe his language was harmful.”
There are 43 women of color currently serving in the House of Representatives. Of that group, Herrera Beutler is the only Republican. She was the only woman of color in the House to vote against Tuesday’s resolution.