- The House voted 240 to 187 in favor of a resolution condemning Trump’s tweets that targeted several Democratic Congresswomen as racist.
- Despite the fact that the resolution is only symbolic, many have said the move is significant because it is very uncommon for the House to rebuke a sitting president, with the last instance happening more than 100 years ago.
- The debate on the resolution got heated after Nancy Pelosi was barred from speaking following a statement she made on the floor where she called Trump’s tweets racist.
- Trump defended himself on Twitter arguing that he was not racist, and that the Congresswomen in question should be condemned, not him. Other Republicans also made the same argument during the floor debate.
House Votes to Condemn Trump
The House of Representatives approved a resolution Tuesday condemning a series of tweets by President Donald Trump as “racist comments directed at Members of Congress.”
On Sunday, President Trump said on Twitter that “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” who came from other countries should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
The president’s tweets sparked a significant amount of backlash, largely because they seemed to be about a group of freshman representatives who are known as “The Squad.” The group consists of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
All of those representatives are women of color who were born in the U.S., with the exception of Omar, who was a Somali war refugee as a child and became a U.S. citizen as a teenager.
On Tuesday night, the House voted in favor of a resolution that “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist 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 resolution was passed 240 to 187, mostly along party lines. Four Republicans and Independent Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who recently left the Republican Party, voted in favor of it.
The measure is a non-binding resolution, which means that there is no policy action or law connected to it. Even though the resolution is entirely symbolic, it still is significant because condemning a sitting president is just something the House does not do.
According to the New York Times, it was “the first House rebuke of a president in more than 100 years.”
Drama on the Floor
Making the decision to condemn the president was nowhere near unanimous.
Many members felt strongly about their support or opposition of the resolution, and what resulted was an incredibly polarizing floor debate. One of the most contentious and unusual things that happened during the debate came after a statement from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
“These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting, and those comments are racist,” Pelosi said, speaking from the floor. “There’s no excuse for any response to those words but a swift and strong, unified condemnation.”
“Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president’s racist tweets,” she continued. “To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people.”
Immediately after that statement, Republican Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) asked Pelosi if she wanted to “rephrase that comment.” Pelosi responded that she had cleared her remarks in advance.
Collins went on to ask that Pelosi’s statements be removed from the record because they violated a rule outlined in an 1801 text by Thomas Jefferson. That text, known as the Jefferson Manual, sets the rules and precedents for House procedures on the floor.
Under a long-standing precedent set by that text, Congress members can not make disparaging comments about the president. In other words, members of Congress cannot call the president– or even his words, racist while speaking on the floor.
After Collin’s motion, the members debated for a full hour if Pelosi’s words should be struck. That debate got so heated that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), who was presiding over the House, banged his gavel and walked out of the chamber in anger.
“We don’t ever, ever want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate, and that’s what this is,” he said. “We want to just fight. I abandon the chair.”
A little later, it was announced that the members decided that Pelosi’s comments were not in order, which meant she was banned from making comments for the rest of the day.
However, Democrats voted to overrule striking her remarks from the record, and Pelosi was allowed to speak again.
The whole ordeal took about two hours, but eventually the resolution was passed, and afterward, Pelosi defended her words.
“I stand by my statement,” Pelosi said, speaking to reporters in the Capitol. “I’m proud of the attention that’s being called to it because what the president said was completely inappropriate against our colleagues, but not just against them, against so many people in our country.”
President Trump took to Twitter to respond to the vote on Tuesday, and defended his previous remarks.
“Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump said on Twitter. “This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country.”
…..Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country. Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said. Omar is polling at 8%, Cortez at 21%. Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party. See you in 2020!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019
After the vote, Trump took to Twitter again to praise House Republicans.
“So great to see how unified the Republican Party was on today’s vote concerning statements I made about four Democrat Congresswomen,” Trump said. “If you really want to see statements, look at the horrible things they said about our Country, Israel, and much more.”
Trump was not the only one who said that the House should condemn the things that the four Congresswomen have said in the past. A number of the Republicans who spoke on the floor Tuesday night made the same argument.
Other Republicans defended Trump’s tweets and said they are not racist, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Rep. Sean Duffy.
“In those tweets, I see nothing that references anybody’s race — not a thing — I don’t see anyone’s name being referenced in the tweets, but the president’s referring to people, congresswomen, who are anti-American,” Duffy said.
As for the Democrats, despite their divisions, they appeared to be unified in Tuesday’s vote. However, that unity could be short-lived.
Right after the resolution was passed, Democratic Rep. Al Green (D-LA) reintroduced articles of impeachment against the president.
“What do you do when the leader of the free world is a racist?” Green asked. “You file Articles of Impeachment, impeaching the president of the United States of America.”
If Green can force a debate, Democrats could see renewed divisions between the more liberal members of the party and the more moderate members who have consistently opposed impeachment.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NPR) (NBC News)
Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene Allegedly Expressed Support for Executing Democrats in 2018 and 2019
- Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) repeatedly endorsed violent calls to kill Democratic politicians and FBI agents, according to a CNN review of her Facebook activity from 2018 and 2019.
- Greene allegedly liked multiple comments calling for the executions of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and others.
- All of the posts, which CNN included in its report, have since been deleted or blocked from public view.
- On Tuesday, Greene described the article as a “hit piece” focused on her time before running for political office, though she did not deny that the posts and her responses to them were real.
CNN Surfaces Controversial Posts
Newly elected U.S. Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) allegedly supported numerous violent calls to execute top Democratic politicians before taking office, according to a review of her Facebook activity published by CNN Tuesday.
The highly controversial lawmaker made headlines last year when she became the first member of Congress to openly support QAnon conspiracies. Greene did try to distance herself from the group’s beliefs while on her campaign trail, though she has continued to promote several other debunked claims, including many about the election being rigged.
Greene has been widely condemned by both Democrats and Republicans for making disparaging remarks about Black people, Jews, and Muslims. She has also been criticized for supporting the conspiracy that the Parkland Massacre, Sandy Hook, the 2017 Las Vegas attack, and other mass shootings were all “false flag” operations to encourage the public to support more gun control.
After reviewing hundreds of posts and comments from Greene’s Facebook, CNN reported that she “repeatedly indicated support for executing prominent Democratic politicians in 2018 and 2019.”
According to the new report, Greene liked multiple comments on Facebook posts calling for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) to be killed. Notably, most of the posts CNN flagged and linked out to in its article are no longer accessible, either because she deleted them or changed her privacy settings.
One screenshot CNN captured showed Greene linking a comment written on a January 2019 post. The comment said “a bullet to the head would be quicker” in reference to the speaker.
The outlet also reported that around the same time, she liked a comment that said “through removal or death, doesn’t matter, as long as she goes.”
The Facebook posts found by CNN did not just target Pelosi. According to the report, she liked a comment seemingly calling for former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry to be hung.
In one post from April 2018, a commenter asked Greene, “Now do we get to hang them ??”
That post was referring to Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to which Greene allegedly responded, “Stage is being set. Players are being put in place. We must be patient. This must be done perfectly or liberal judges would let them off.”
Greene also reportedly liked multiple comments in other posts about executing FBI agents who she believed were part of the “deep state” working against former President Donald Trump and gave a thumbs up to some really concerning calls for violence, including one comment urging for “civil war 2.0” to begin.
Greene responded to the report in a statement Tuesday, calling it a hit piece on me focused on my time before running for political office.” However, she did not deny that the posts and her alleged responses to them were authentic.
“Over the years, I’ve had teams of people manage my pages. Many posts have been liked. Many posts have been shared. Some did not represent my view,” she said. “Especially the ones that CNN is about to spread across the internet. They are taking old Facebook posts from random users to try to cancel me and silence my voice.”
Greene’s response also sparked criticisms, including from other members of Congress.
“So you aren’t denying you wrote called for the deaths of political leaders, you aren’t taking responsibility, you aren’t apologizing, you aren’t even saying it was wrong,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said on Twitter.
“You’re just blaming others. Your conduct does not reflect creditably on the House, and you should resign.”
This is not the first time Greene’s colleagues have called on her to resign in the few weeks she has been a member of the House. After one Democratic Representative called for her to be expelled from the chamber because of her role in the insurrection, Greene posted a tweet falsely accusing “Antifa/BLM terrorism” and Democrats of stoking the riot.
In a statement to the media, a spokesperson for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) called Greene’s alleged comments “deeply disturbing” and promised to talk to the Congresswoman about them. He did not indicate whether or not any further disciplinary action would be taken.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Washington Post) (Media Matters)
Josh Hawley Claims Ethics Complaint Against Him Is “Cancel Culture”
- Seven Democratic Senators filed an ethics complaint against Republican Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz last week over their efforts in leading objections to the certification of the presidential election.
- The group urged the Ethics Committee to launch an investigation into whether Cruz and Hawley’s actions inspired violence or if there were any connections between the two Senators, their staffers, and the insurrectionists.
- Hawley filed a counter-complaint against the seven Democrats Monday, arguing that they were engaging in cancel culture.
- “Your baseless allegations are in that sense unfortunately typical of today’s leftwing cancel culture, a culture that tramples on the democratic traditions that left and right once defended together,” he wrote.
Ethics Committee Complaints
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) filed a counter-complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee Monday alleging that a group of Democratic senators were engaging in “cancel culture” by calling for a recent investigation into his conduct.
Last week, seven Democratic senators, lead by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), filed an ethics complaint against Hawley and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) for leading the objection to the certification of the presidential election
In the complaint, the members accused Hawley and Cruz of legitimizing the false claims that prompted the insurrection in the first place and then continuing to “amplify the claims of fraud that they likely knew to be baseless and that had led to violence earlier that day,” by still voting to object.
The letter also noted that both Cruz and Hawley touted their plan to object to the certification as a way to collect more campaign donations. It argued that they continued to do so while the Capitol was literally under siege and even after the insurrection.
As a result, the seven Democrats urged the Ethics Committee to investigate whether there was any coordination between Hawley, Cruz, or their staffers and the insurrectionists, if they knew about the plans for the Jan. 6 rally, or if they took donations from people and organizations involved.
They also implored the committee to look into whether the actions of the two Senators actions inspired violence or “otherwise engaged in criminal conduct, or unethical or improper behavior.” If any evidence is found, the Democrats recommended the committee take “strong disciplinary action, including up to expulsion or censure.”
Hawley Speaks Out
In his counter-complaint, Hawley accused the Democrats of trampling on free speech in an attempt to “cancel” him.
“This line of thinking is, however, sadly consistent with the new woke-mob mentality that you should cancel anyone who disagrees with your views,” he wrote. “Your baseless allegations are in that sense unfortunately typical of today’s leftwing cancel culture, a culture that tramples on the democratic traditions that left and right once defended together.”
Hawley also echoed that sentiment in a cover essay published by The New York Post on Monday, where claimed he has been “canceled” and “muzzled” over his attempts to stop the Democratic election of President Joe Biden from being certified.
Both the letter and the article attracted significant backlash online and in the media. In a particularly scathing critique, CNN Tonight host Don Lemon condemned Hawley for claiming he was being censored.
“No one has muzzled Josh Hawley. What happened to Josh Hawley isn’t cancel culture. It’s called consequences,” Lemon said. “That’s how the First Amendment works. Say whatever you want, but you gotta pay the price if you say something stupid, or you do something stupid or treasonous, or if you try to overturn a duly elected president, right?”
“Don’t fall for this, people,” he continued. “Think about the actions in the Capitol. Think about what happened, think about the people who died, think about the cops who were beaten by people. Think about all that.”
Dominion Files $1.3 Billion Defamation Suit Against Rudy Giuliani
- Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani seeking $1.3 billion in damages for false claims he made about the company, including that the manufacturer led an effort to flip votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
- The lawsuit alleges Giuliani, the former president’s personal lawyer, spread the disinformation in large part to enrich himself through legal fees and his podcast.
- It also links his false claims about Dominion to the Capitol insurrection, noting that he mentioned the company while speaking at a rally before the attack and on social media numerous times during.
- This is the second suit Dominion has filed against a Trump campaign lawyer, and an attorney for the company said it might bring similar cases against pro-Trump media outlets or Trump himself.
Dominion Sues Giuliani
Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, seeking $1.3 billion in damages for false claims he made about the company.
Dominion, which is one of the largest voting machine manufacturers in the U.S., became the main target for widespread election fraud conspiracies spread by Giuliani and other Trump allies. Those individuals falsely claimed with no evidence that Dominion machines, widely used in key battleground states, were flipping votes from Trump to President Joe Biden.
Now, the company claims that Giuliani and his allies “manufactured and disseminated the ‘Big Lie,’ which foreseeably went viral and deceived millions of people into believing that Dominion had stolen their votes and fixed the election.”
The lawsuit alleges that he did this in large part to enrich himself through legal fees and his podcast. It notes that Trump’s top lawyer “reportedly demanded $20,000 per day” for his legal services to the president, and arguing that he “cashed in by hosting a podcast where he exploited election falsehoods to market gold coins, supplements, cigars and protection from ‘cyberthieves.’”
The 107-page suit also specifically outlines more than 50 statements Giuliani made on Twitter, his podcast, to the conservative media, and during legislative hearings. Notably, the company points out that he never mentioned Dominion in court where he could face legal ramifications because he knew what he was claiming was false.
Despite that, Giuliani continued to push the false narrative, even after Dominion sent him a letter in December warning they were going to take legal action against him.
The lawsuit also links Giuliani’s false claims about Dominion to the Capitol insurrection, noting that he mentioned the company while speaking at the rally before the attack and on social media numerous times during.
According to reports, even after the insurrection, he has still continued to spread those falsities as recently as last week.
“Dominion’s founder and employees have been harassed and have received death threats, and Dominion has suffered unprecedented and irreparable harm,” the court document states.
Other Defamation Cases
The case against Giuliani is not the first defamation suit Dominion has brought against Trump allies in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, the company filed a similar claim against former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell where it also sought $1.3 billion in damages over her false assertions that Dominion was part of a world-wide communist plot to rig the election.
Separately, one of Dominion’s top executives has also filed lawsuits against Giuliani, the Trump campaign, and several pro-Trump media outlets after he was forced into hiding due to conspiracies that he masterminded the plot to steal the election.
These cases could just be the start. According to NPR, an attorney for Dominion said it was possible that the company would file additional suits against pro-Trump media outlets — such as Fox News — and even potentially Trump himself.