Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of Resolution Condemning President Trump’s Racist Comments Directed at Members of Congress
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him for his leadership in so many ways in this Congress. Mr. Nadler, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I commend Mr. Malinowski and Mr. Raskin for bringing this important resolution to the Floor.
Mr. Speaker, I come to this Floor prayerfully. It is really very, very sad. It was interesting to me, and I spoke out about this, that on Sunday in Catholic Masses, and I don’t know beyond that, that the Gospel of the day was the Gospel of the Good Samaritan.
A person asked Jesus, ‘What do I have to do to enter the kingdom of heaven?’ And Christ replied, ‘Love thy neighbor as thy self. Show mercy.’
That very same day – oh, and then went on to talk – and then he said, ‘Well, how do I do this?’ And Jesus gave him the example of the Good Samaritan.
Everyone is familiar with how a stranger helped another stranger, a foreigner helped another foreigner. The Good Samaritan.
‘Love thy neighbor as thy self. Show mercy.’
On that very same day, coincidentally, ironically, sadly – whatever adverb you want to use – the President was instituting raids into the homes of families.
I went to Spanish Mass this weekend and saw the dignity of those families, the beauty of the children and the fear that the President had struck in their hearts as we were listening to the Gospel of the Good Samaritan, to show mercy and love thy neighbor as thyself.
That very same day, unfortunately, there were those who were not informed by that Gospel. And so here we are later in that day – It was stunning to hear the words that were used – ‘Go home’ – to some of our colleagues. The same words that were used to so many people in our country, whether because they weren’t born here or because they didn’t look like some others here: ‘Go home.’
As annoyed and insulted as we all should be about the President saying this about our colleagues, it is also not showing mercy for him to say that about so many people in our country as he wants to split up families.
So I thank Mr. Malinowski, Mr. Raskin for the opportunity to speak to the statements that the President made later in the day of the gospel of the Good Samaritan. Mr. Malinowski was born abroad. Mr. Raskin, for his firm leadership in advancing this important resolution.
The House, hopefully, has come together, standing as one, to denounce the White House’s xenophobic attacks on our Members, on our people, and to defend the values of America.
And what is America? America is many things. The land of a great Constitution, which is under threat. A beautiful land that God has given us, which is being degraded. Values that we share that are being undermined. But America is also a nation largely, but not totally, largely of immigrants.
As this Resolution so beautifully states, ‘The Founders conceived America as a haven for refuge, for people fleeing from religious and political persecution and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison’ – having opposite views on other subjects – ‘all emphasized that the nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families.’
The resolution quotes our most iconic Presidents who all recognize that immigrants are the constant reinvigoration of America; of hope, determination, optimism, and courage to make the future better. Those are American values. Those are American traits – hope, optimism, courage, and many of these immigrants, when they come here with those values and those traits make America more American.
Franklin Roosevelt said, ‘Remember always that all of us and you and I especially are descendants from immigrants.’
President John F. Kennedy, who wrote that, ‘The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life.’
And President Ronald Reagan, he said it so beautifully in his last speech as President of the United States which is quoted in this resolution, who said, ‘If we ever close the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.’
Yet, the President’s comments about our colleagues this weekend show that he does not share those American values. These comments from the White House are disgraceful and disgusting, and those comments are racist.
How shameful to hear him continue to defend those offensive words. Words that we have all heard him repeat, not only about our Members, but about countless others.
Our Caucus will continue to forcefully respond to those attacks on our Members, which reflect a fundamental disrespect for the beautiful diversity of America.
There is no place anywhere for the President’s words, which are not only divisive but dangerous, and have ‘legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.’
It’s so sad because you would think that there would be a given that we would universally in this body just say, of course, of course, and there is no excuse for any response to those words but a swift and strong unified condemnation.
Every single Member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the President’s racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office to protect the American people. I urge a unanimous vote and yield back the balance of my time.