WASHINGTON — Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania was one of only four Republicans to vote Tuesday night to condemn President Donald Trump’s most controversial recent tweets as racist, breaking with his party to support a resolution criticizing the president’s weekend attack on four Democratic Congresswomen of color.
“Congressman Fitzpatrick is a proponent of the Golden Rule. Comments that are counterintuitive to civil discourse should be pushed back upon," emailed a Fitzpatrick spokesperson, Christopher Auray.
Fitzpatrick’s district could be one of the most competitive in Pennsylvania. The congressman squeaked to reelection by less than 3 percentage points last year, surviving a wave that left him as the only Republican House member left in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Every House Democrat voted for a resolution condemning Trump for his recent tweets saying four Democrats should “go back” to the countries they came from, despite the fact that three were born in the United States and the fourth is a naturalized citizen. The tweet kept with a long-standing trope that people who aren’t white are less American.
The resolution reads in part that it “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."
A Central New Jersey freshman who immigrated from Poland as a child, Rep. Tom Malinowski, sponsored the resolution.
“I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States when I was 10 years old,” Malinowski, a Democrat, said on the House floor. “Does the president think I should go back because I’m an immigrant who disagrees with his policies?”
He said people who come to America often do so to flee countries where leaders use fear and division to further their power, and accused Trump of employing those tactics.
“These words are dangerous. Every synagogue in my district either has armed security or is struggling with the question of whether to have it,” he said. “Every mosque has state police coming to Friday prayers.”
Democrtic Rep. Madeleine Dean of Montgomery County said, “Words matter. Decency matters.”
Republicans dismissed the resolution as politics.
“The president and his supporters have been forced to endure months of allegations of racism and ‘concentration camp’ accusations,” said Rep. Dan Meuser (R., Pa.). “This ridiculous slander does a disservice to our nation and the American people and I, like many, am tired of it.”