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House votes to condemn Trump for ‘racist tweets’

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By Sharon Marris, news reporter

The US House of Representatives has voted to condemn Donald Trump for "racist comments" about four congresswomen.

The vote, which is largely symbolic, comes after the US president told the women to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came."

All four of them – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – are US citizens and three of them are US-born.

The House, which is controlled by the Democrats, voted 240-187 in favour of the resolution, with four Republicans also voting in support.

It "strongly condemned President Donald Trump's racist comments that have legitimised and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of colour".

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It added that Mr Trump's comments "do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America".

It also included a full page of quotations from Republican president Ronald Reagan, who is revered by the party, saying in 1989 that if the US closed its doors to newcomers "our leadership in the world would soon be lost".

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Mr Trump's remarks prompted three days of outrage but he did not back down, tweeting that any member of Congress who was unhappy with the US "can leave".

He later added: "I don't have a racist bone in my body", describing the vote as a "Democrat con game".

Democrat John Lewis of Georgia, who was badly injured at the 1965 Bloody Sunday civil rights march in Selma, Alabama, was among those who spoke in support of the vote.

He told the House: "I know racism when I see it.

"At the highest level of government, there's no room for racism."

On Monday night, the four women held a news conference urging Americans "not to take the bait", with Ms Pressley saying that Mr Trump's insults were "simply a disruption and a distraction from the callous chaos and corrupt culture of this administration".

Ms Ocasio-Cortez had earlier said: "Donald Trump has decided he does not want to be president of the United States. He does not want to be a president to those who disagree."

The four congresswomen, also known as The Squad, have regularly criticised Mr Trump's immigration policy, the treatment of immigrants in border camps and crackdowns by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

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They have also clashed with Nancy Pelosi, who is the Democrat Speaker of the House, over how to restrain Mr Trump's anti-immigration policies.

However, the vote united the Democrats with even Mrs Pelosi describing Mr Trump's words as racist and reportedly describing the four women as "our sisters" in a private meeting with party members.

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