La Salle News Tribune: Kinzinger: Pelosi racism resolution was retaliation, broke House rules

WASHINGTON D.C. — A tweet by President Donald Trump last weekend saying four congresswomen of color should “go back where they came from” resulted in continued fallout throughout this week, both nationwide and in the U.S. Capitol.

None of the four outspoken House Democrats targeted in the Trump tweet are Caucasian, and all are citizens — three of the four were born in the United States and one was a refugee as a child.

Shortly after the president’s statement, Democrats as well as two Republican congressmen and Republican Gov. John Kasich denounced Trump’s tweet and labeled it as patently racist.

Dozens of Republicans in the U.S. House, including U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who represents North Central Illinois, issued statements denouncing the tweet, but some Democrats have expressed outrage that Republicans including Kinzinger did not call the tweet or the president “racist.”

As the week went on, Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for a vote on the House floor to condemn the president, a proposal that the Republicans saw as politically motivated and which Kinzinger considered improper according to House rules. Pelosi’s resolution passed 240-187, on party lines, with “yes” votes from just four Republicans, Will Hurd of Texas, Susan Brooks of Indiana, Fred Upton of Maine and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania.

Kinzinger released the following statement after the House debate and eventual vote:

“Today, the Speaker of the House broke the very rules of the institution she leads and advocated for a resolution that does the same. The House rules should apply to all of us, and as it was stated today, Speaker Pelosi’s ‘characterizing an action as racist is not in order’ of our House Rules,” said Kinzinger. “Rather than protect the institution we serve, my colleagues across the aisle violated these rules knowingly and continued to sow this chaos for political points.

“H.Res.489 is a retaliation and retribution tool being used to attack the President, and it violates a pillar of our institution by ignoring the rules of decorum and disregarding our founding principles. As such, I voted against the resolution.

“As members of Congress,” Kinzinger continued, “we take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and we have a responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard, in respect for the people we serve and the office we hold. The President of the United States also takes an oath, and for the highest office in the land, we expect and deserve better than what we’ve seen far too often from our current president.

“Disparaging comments against members of Congress are beneath the office of the Presidency and have no place in our political discourse. I have said time and again that I strongly disagree with the President on tone and his use of Twitter, and I believe his tweet this weekend was wrong and dangerously divisive.

“To retaliate by damaging our institution, which has the power of the purse and a prominent role in the system of checks and balances, is juvenile and short-sighted. It sets a terrible precedent for the future and erodes at the civility in this country. I believe in the People’s House and our democracy, and I will work hard to defend our core values and the integrity of this institution.

"Simply put, we can and must do better.”

Kinzinger expressed similar concerns on Twitter on Thursday night after a Make America Great rally for the president in North Carolina resulted in a chant of “Send Her Back,” referring to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)

“I deeply disagree with the extreme left and have been disgusted by their tone. I woke up today equally disgusted — chants like ‘send her back’ are ugly, wrong, & would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers. This ugliness must end, or we risk our great union,” Kinzinger tweeted.

Other Illinois congressmen, such as Democrat Bill Foster (whose district now includes Joliet, Plainfield, Aurora and rural areas east of Plano) have more pointedly condemned the president and his statements.

“I voted to condemn President Trump for his racist and xenophobic comments about members of Congress that have further disgraced the presidency.” Foster said in a prepared statement. “This type of language is inappropriate and deeply disrespectful of the office he holds and the people he serves. America is and always has been a nation built by immigrants who share a common belief in democratic values.

“As someone whose spouse immigrated to the United States seeking a better life, I know her pride in becoming an American citizen equals that of any person who was fortunate to be born here. President Trump’s words and actions have shown outright disdain for our shared history and the principles our nation was founded on. This isn’t his first bigoted outburst and likely won’t be his last, but Congress should make it clear that it won’t be tolerated.”

The original article can be found on the La Salle News Tribune website here.