Reed backs Trump in wake of remarks
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed said he is confident Donald Trump is not a racist in the wake of comments the president made on Twitter urging four Democratic congresswomen of color to return to their countries.
Reed, R-Corning, cited his relationship with Trump during a conference call Tuesday with local media in knowing that the president was not talking about race when he directed comments to Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
“I’m confident when I say I do not believe (Trump) is a racist,” Reed said. “I have seen first-hand in his heart he is not a racist.”
Reed said he also opposed a House resolution condemning the president’s comments, noting that the effort would do nothing more than “further the political partisanship of Washington.”
According to the Associated Press, the House resolution would condemn “President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”
The four-page measure traced the country’s history of welcoming immigrants from colonial times and includes an entire page of quotes from Republican President Ronald Reagan.
Reed said he disagreed with Trump’s tweets, which he acknowledged could be interpreted as inappropriate. However, he said he also opposed the “extremist agenda” that is being pushed by the people targeted by the president.
“I will fight the extremism that is embracing an extremist agenda that is not good for the longterm of the country,” he said.
Trump on Tuesday reprised a taunt he initially made on Monday, tweeting, “If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!”
His barrage came amid a continued backlash to his weekend comments that the progressive women “go back” to their “broken and crime-infested” countries.
Asked by a reporter during Tuesday’s call if Trump’s use of Twitter has hurt the administration’s attempt to legislate, Reed said the president will always likely be a target to criticism no matter how he voices his opinion.
“Given the nature … of the political environment, (Trump’s) going to be attacked regardless of what he does to change his message,” Reed said. “Folks who disagree continue to carry forward with these attacks.”
At the Capitol, there was near unanimous condemnation from Democrats and a rumble of discontent from a subset of Republicans, but notably not from the party’s congressional leaders.
In response, Trump tweeted anew Tuesday about the four congresswomen: “Why isn’t the House voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said? Because they are the Radical Left, and the Democrats are afraid to take them on. Sad!”
The Republican president questioned whether Democrats should “want to wrap” themselves around this group of four people as he recited a list of the quartet’s most controversial statements.
“Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party,” he wrote, adding: “See you in 2020!”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.