Trump, Condemned for ‘Racist’ Comments, Hits Campaign Trail

Updated at 6:39 p.m, July 17.

WHITE HOUSE — U.S. President Donald Trump is expressing no regrets for sparking a firestorm that quickly led to a House resolution condemning him for “racist” remarks against four nonwhite congresswomen.  
“I’m not relishing the fight. I’m enjoying it, because I have to get the word out to the American people. And you have to enjoy what you do. I enjoy what I do,” Trump responded to a reporter’s question on the White House South Lawn on Wednesday afternoon.  
The president spoke before boarding the Marine One helicopter for a short flight to Joint Base Andrews. From there, he boarded Air Force One for a trip to North Carolina where, at a political rally in the evening, he was expected to amplify his attacks on the four lawmakers and other Democrats.  

Trump on Twitter said he would talk to his supporters in the university town of Greenville about the U.S. economy — “the best it has ever been” — but “also about people who love, and hate, our Country (mostly love)!”

Big Rally tonight in Greenville, North Carolina. Lots of great things to tell you about, including the fact that our Economy is the best it has ever been. Best Employment & Stock Market Numbers EVER. I’ll talk also about people who love, and hate, our Country (mostly love)! 7:PM

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2019

He cited rising poll numbers in the early stages of his 2020 re-election contest and thanked the lawmakers, but told them, “America will never buy your act!”

New Poll: The Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in predicting the 2016 Election, has just announced that “Trump” numbers have recently gone up by four points, to 50%. Thank you to the vicious young Socialist Congresswomen. America will never buy your act! #MAGA2020

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2019

Four Republicans joined every Democrat in the House on Tuesday night to approve a resolution condemning Trump’s “racist” remarks. At the center of the dispute was Trump’s tweet telling Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayana Pressley and Rashida Tlaib to “go back” to their countries to fix them before attacking the United States, even though all four are U.S. citizens, Somali refugee Omar as a naturalized citizen and other three citizens by birth.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks as, from left, her colleagues Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley, listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019.

A staunch Trump supporter, Senator Lindsey Graham, said he did not think it was appropriate for Trump to tell the lawmakers to “go back” to their homelands when the U.S. is their home.

But Graham concluded, “I think the president is in a tug of war with his opponents. The question is do I think the president’s a racist? No, and let me tell you why. If you’re a Somali refugee and you’re wearing a [Trump-themed “Make America Great Again”] hat, and you’re a big Trump fan, you’d probably be having dinner at the White House. So, he lashes out at people who are critical of him, and, in his view, are hurting the country, and that’s what this is all about.”

FILE – Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters after a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 21, 2019.

Republican Senator John Kennedy said he has respect for the four congresswomen and that they are “entitled to their point of view.” But he added, “I think they’re left-wing cranks, and I don’t think that most Americans agree with them.”

The House resolution, which was passed 240-187, “strongly condemns” Trump’s “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the chamber to unite “in condemning the president’s racist tweets.”

Her remark prompted a formal objection from Congressman Doug Collins, who argued the speaker’s phrase violated House decorum. A vote of the full House, however, rejected the Republican’s call for Pelosi’s comments to be struck from the record.