Swalwell Explicitly Calls Out Trump’s Racism on House Floor by Reciting Examples of Trump's Racist Statements. Republicans Force Him to Stop.

July 18th 2019


This is Eric Swalwell on the floor of the House attempting to to what the media refuses to do which is to call Donald Trump’s behavior what it is, racist. Swalwell attempted to read a list of Donald Trump’s racist comments into the Congressional record, even though the House took action a few days ago to “suspend” Nancy Pelosi based on a parliamentary rule of order which prohibits calling any President a racist. 

There is much to appreciate about his unequivocal statement that Donald Trump’s comments are racist. However, this should also be an opportunity to consider what happens when Democratic party leadership throws it’s more progressive members under the bus. Back in early February, when Ilhan Omar ignited controversy over her comments about AIPAC, it was those in establishment Democrat circles who were suggesting she was saying something “anti-American.”For example, Chelsea Clinton tweeted a response that began “Co-signed as an American” - as if Congresswoman Omar is not an American.    

In addition, despite the fact that Omar was obviously being targeted as a Muslim woman, Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders issued a statement that “Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive”, and added “We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”

The leap to label her as anti-Semetic is a dog whistle to both Republicans and Democrats. It’s an accusation that has been used time and time again to marginalize people of color in politics.

It’s also telling that the party’s first instinct was not to rally around Omar but to pass a symbolic resolution condemning anti-Semitism, a purely performative exercise meant solely to single her out. What the effort to pass the resolution did (despite the fact that, after facing backlash, it was amended to codemn anti-Muslim descrimination as well) was normalize the notion that Omar and her convictions are un-American. Especially considering the rising presence of white nationalism and President Trump’s boosting of their eurocentric hate of “the other,” Democrats can’t give up any ground - the Republicans will happily exploit any opportunity to accuse someone of being un-American; they don’t need the centrist Democrats to set up the dialogue for them. 

Mark KarlinComment