Oklahoma Republican lawmakers did their best to shift attention from President Donald Trump and his tweets to Democrats and in particular Speaker Nancy Pelosi and four outspoken first-year members in the aftermath of Tuesday night’s vote to condemn Trump’s “racist comments directed at Members of Congress.”

The state Republican Party, meanwhile, fully embraced Trump’s remarks of Sunday and Monday, saying it is “deeply proud” of Trump.

The Congressional delegation’s lone Democrat, 5th District Congresswoman Kendra Horn, said she voted for the resolution because she was “troubled by the remarks of the President, which are below the dignity of the office he holds.”

That is similar to the statement of Republican 4th District Congressman Tom Cole, who said Monday that Trump’s language “demeans the office of the presidency.”

Wednesday, Cole said “it is certainly appropriate to be critical of what the president said about four fellow Americans and members of Congress” but voted against Wednesday’s resolution, saying it represented “a political double standard.”

Cole said the resolution “singles out and condemns the president but ignores the shameful rhetoric on the other side.”

Oklahoma’s other three Republican representatives all attacked House Democrats while mentioning Trump little if at all.

“Speaker Pelosi broke the rules of the House by calling our President a racist on the House floor,” tweeted 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern. “This is absolutely unacceptable coming from someone who’s 3rd in line for the Presidency. Speaker Pelosi must apologize for this behavior. Can we all admit that these pointless messaging resolutions are doing nothing to move our country forward? We need to return to our purpose — drafting and debating legislation that helps hard-working Americans.”

Pelosi did violate House rules on decorum by referring to Trump’s tweets as “racist,” but Democrats argued that Republican Sean Duffy also violated House rules by calling fellow members “unAmerican.”

Second District Congressman Markwayne Mullin, who on Monday defended Trump’s remarks, tweeted Wednesday: “No wonder the Democratic majority can’t get anything done. They just spent hours fighting about Speaker Pelosi’s ability to break the House rules and call the President a racist.”

Third District Congressman Frank Lucas, who had remained silent on the issue until Wednesday, said he has voted for resolutions condemning white nationalism and anti-Semitism but did not vote to censure Trump because Democrats “voted to overturn House rules so the Speaker could engage in personality attacks against the President. The use of hateful and insidious rhetoric has become incredibly routine, demeaning the values we’ve set for ourselves as a society.”

The Oklahoma Republican Party, in a statement first reported by KTUL, said it is “deeply proud” of Trump and supports his tweets.

“As Oklahomans, we are deeply proud of our nation, our flag and our President, who continues to deliver for Oklahoma families every day. When Kendra Horn’s far-left colleagues refer to American border centers as ‘concentration camps,’ endorse taxpayer-funded healthcare for illegal immigrants and continually work to undermine the rule of law and the constitution, the President is right to question their patriotism,” the statement reads.

Beating Horn next year is a top priority of the state Republican Party.

Horn, in her statement, said she is “troubled on many levels by the tone and tenor of our discourse.”

Horn has actually sometimes been at odds with her party’s left wing through her membership in the moderate Blue Dog Coalition.

The latest blowup over Trump’s tweets involves one recommending that four House members — all women of color — “go back … (to) the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The statement did not use explicit racial language or slurs but was widely viewed as racist by many, including some Republicans, who say it employs “code” or “dog whistle” language. “Go back to where you came from” language, as it is called, is actually defined as racist in federal law.

“Another crisis, another distraction,” said Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Alicia Andrews said. “Trump’s tweet, telling American citizens, our own elected officials, to go back to the countries they came from, though divisive, vile, and worse than immoral, must be recognized for what it truly is. Another distraction to shore up his far-right conservative base and divide our country.”

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Randy Krehbiel



Twitter: @rkrehbiel

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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