Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of House Resolution 183 Condemning Hateful Expressions of Intolerance
March 8, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of House Resolution 183, condemning hateful expressions of intolerance. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and I thank him for bringing this important resolution to the Floor of the House.
I commend the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Raskin, and the gentleman from Louisiana, the very distinguished gentleman, for his participation in writing this important resolution.
It is in the spirit of unity and solidarity with my colleagues as we come together in this chamber of our American democracy to condemn all forms of hatred, racism, prejudice and discrimination with a hopefully single and strong voice.
It is profoundly disturbing reality that anti-Semitism is on the rise in America today and anti-Semitism – anti-Semitic attacks increasingly are at the highest rate on record.
Appalling acts of hatred and bigotry are being inflicted in our – on all elements of our society, be they African-American, Latino, people from Asia, attacks in terms of people being Muslim or other religious faiths.
This isn’t who we are as a country. We all believe that there is a spark of divinity in every person who exists. That we are all God’s children, and that we come to meet with each other in a way that commands respect for that provenance of our being all God’s children. And then we see people making attacks on each other throughout the country, whether it’s in Charlottesville or whether it’s anti-immigrant attitudes that have reared their ugly heads in our country. And it is in that spirit that I come to the Floor, almost emotionally, to speak about this.
In Congress, and across the country, we must accept debate on any subject in a legitimate way, whether it’s on our U.S.-Israel policies and the rest. That is protected by the value of free speech and democratic debate in the United States and in Israel. Israel is our friend and our friend in the region. We support Israel out of friendship, out of shared values but also because it is in our national interest to do so. But not every one of us in this body agrees on every provision of our – or any consideration in that relationship.
That is a separate and complete issue from anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism attacks – form of attacks on Jewish people, anti-Semitic tropes, prejudicial accusations or any other form of hatred is deeply and unequivocally offensive and must be condemned wherever it is heard, and all of us must remember as Members of Congress, as President of the United States, that our words are weightier once we cross the threshold into Congress, and indeed they weigh a ton when someone becomes the President of the United States.
It’s also disturbing that Islamophobia and white supremacism remain a sinister and shameful presence in America today, too often that goes under noticed or unchecked.
Such attacks are even targeted – have even targeted some of us in this body. We must condemn these attacks and confront them.
As Members of Congress and Americans we have a solemn, urgent responsibility to fight to end the scourge of bigotry, racism and hatred in our country.
I do want to again absolute our colleagues, Cedric Richmond, our distinguished former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, now distinguished leader in the Whip operation for his leadership in shaping this legislation and, again, Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland for his leadership role in all of this.
I salute all our Members for demonstrating the courage to have this difficult conversation and for doing so in a spirit of great respect. Disagreeing sometimes, but never questioning the patriotism or motivation of anyone with whom we serve.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman Nadler, for the important work as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee that you have done to give us this moment, this important moment on the Floor of the House.
With that, I ask – I hope that we will have a unanimous vote in support of this resolution and yield back the balance of my time.