New York Congress Members Split Over Trump’s Racist Tweets

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Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) said President Donald Trump’s tweets, telling progressive Democratic congresswomen to go back and fix the places they came from, were unequivocally wrong and beneath the office of the presidency. But protesters in Syracuse were unsatisfied by Katko’s remarks.

“What kind of person stands by silently, when somebody directs racist insults against his own colleagues?” Keck asked.

Katko voted against a House resolution condemning the president’s tweets. In a statement, he called it a meaningless vote to score political points. Dana Balter, who is seeking the Democratic nomination a second time to challenge Katko, said Katko’s response was woefully inadequate.

“There is nothing more important in a country that is based in freedom for everybody, to stand up and speak out against racism and xenophobia, which are things that inhibit freedom for everybody,” Balter said.

In his statement, Katko said there was no resolution brought to the House floor to condemn a tweet from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that some say was anti-Semitic, although there have been two House votes denouncing anti-Semitism broadly.

Balter agrees that tweet, in which Omar said, “It’s all about the Benjamins,” in reference to Israeli lobbying, was wrong.

Finger Lakes Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) and North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) joined Katko, who are all Republicans, in voting against the recent House resolution condemning Trump. Reed said Trump’s tweet was inappropriate, but he believes the resolution furthers the partisan atmosphere in Washington.

“The better course is for all sides to stand down,” Reed said. “Let’s leave that partisan rhetoric on both sides to the sidelines.”

The resolution passed anyway, and with the support of Mohawk Valley Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica).