Updated Jul 16, 2019

Republican backlash builds after Trump's racist tweets

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's racist tweets over the weekend attacking Democratic congresswomen of color have drawn some pushback from his Republican colleagues.

What they're saying: Republicans have come out to condemn the president's comments — with Michigan Rep. Fred Upton saying that he was "appalled" and found the president's rhetoric "flat out wrong and uncalled for."

  • Texas Rep. Pete Olson tweeted: "I urge our President immediately disavow his comments."
  • Texas Rep. Will Hurd told CNN that the tweets were "racist and xenophobic."
  • Texas Rep. Chip Roy tweeted: "POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any 'home' besides the U.S."
  • Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich tweeted: "What @realDonaldTrump said about Democrat women in Congress is deplorable and beneath the dignity of the office."
  • Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey told CNN Trump's comments were "wrong," adding, "We should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry."
  • Maine Sen. Susan Collins said in a statement that the comments were "way over the line" and encouraged the president to take down his tweets.
  • Ohio Rep. Mike Turner tweeted that the president's remarks were "racist and he should apologize."
  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, stated that the president's remarks consisted of "racially offensive language." He added, "No matter our political disagreements, aiming for the lowest common denominator will only divide our nation further."
  • Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake tweeted: "There are times when the President's comments are so vile and offensive that it is incumbent on Republicans to respond and condemn. This is one of those times."
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld called the comments "racist attacks."
  • Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez said the tweets were "wildly inappropriate."
  • Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell wrote the comments were "beneath leaders."
  • New York Rep. Elise Stefanik said the comments were "inappropriate, denigrating, and wrong," according to the Post Star.
  • Indian Rep. Susan Brooks said the comments "do not reflect American values."
  • Pennsylvania Rep. Lloyd Smucker stated "racially-motivated statements or behavior is totally unacceptable and unbecoming of our great nation."
  • New York Rep. John Katko said the president's remarks were "wrong," adding, "criticism should focus on policy."
  • Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski tweeted: "there is no excuse for the president’s spiteful comments."
  • Utah Sen. Mitt Romney told NBC 10 that the president "fell far short" in his comments.
  • Texas Sen. John Cornyn told CNN he thinks "what the President said was a mistake and an unforced error."
  • Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said in a statement to CNN that the president used "unacceptable tactics" in attacking the women.
  • Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole tweeted, "Use of such language is inappropriate and demeans the office of the presidency."
  • Ohio Sen. Rob Portman told CNN, "That's not something I would say, and I think it's divisive, unnecessary and wrong."
  • New York Rep. Peter King's spokesperson told CNN, "The tweets were inappropriate and wrong."

The other side: Trump defended his comments on Monday by stating that he didn't specifically name anyone in his tweets. Four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley — have made recent headlines for clashing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  • Trump subsequently singled out Omar for a series of critiques, including falsely claiming she'd praised al-Qaeda.
  • "If somebody has a problem with our country, if somebody doesn't want to be in our country, they should leave." Trump wrote.

Republican leadership has also taken a stand on the matter:

  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a press conference Tuesday that he does not believe Trump's tweets were racist. "I think the president clarified that," he added.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, "The president is not a racist" at a press conference Tuesday. He added that politicians "from the president to the speaker to the freshmen members of the House" should recall Justice Antonin Scalia's message to attack ideas and not people.

The big picture: Three of the four congresswomen Trump targeted are American-born, with Omar the only naturalized U.S. citizen. Pelosi has announced the drafting of a House resolution condemning Trump's tweets.

Go deeper: A tough time to be a Trump supporter

Go deeper

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 5,432,512 — Total deaths: 345,375 — Total recoveries — 2,182,202Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina.
  4. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil Over 100 cases in Germany tied to single day of church services.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy