After ‘person of color’ quip, Rep. Mike Kelly clarifies: ‘We’re all created equal’
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, is defending comments he made to a reporter Tuesday, in the wake of President Trump’s tweets telling four congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from.
“You know, they talk about people of color. I’m a person of color. I’m white,” Kelly told Daniel Newhauser of Vice News. “I’m an Anglo-Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don’t get offended. With a name like Mike Kelly you can’t be from any place else but Ireland.”
"You know, they talked about people of color. I'm a person of color. I'm white." – Rep. Mike Kelly pic.twitter.com/pZm0dgEQpA
— Daniel Newhauser (@dnewhauser) July 16, 2019
Kelly spoke with the reporter shortly before Republicans in the House tried to force a vote to have remarks made by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor, in which she described the “president’s racist tweets,” stricken from the record.
Kelly, in a statement from his office, said the reporter’s tweet previewing the story “mischaracterized our conversation and my broader point: We’re all created equal. It’s time to stop fixating on our differences and focus on what unites us.”
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the “ ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
He was referring to four first-term congresswomen who are outspoken critics — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
Omar, a refugee from Somalia, became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York to parents of Puerto Rican descent. Rashida Tlaib, born in Detroit, is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Pressley, an Ohio native, is the first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in the House.
Few Republicans in the House or Senate have publicly criticized the president’s remarks. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, did say Trump was wrong to say that the congresswomen should go back to where they came from, according to ABC News.
NEW: Republican Sen. Pat Toomey: “President Trump was wrong to suggest that four left-wing congresswomen should go back to where they came from. Three of the four were born in America and the citizenship of all four is as valid as mine." https://t.co/qhUxuRQArO pic.twitter.com/mUF6VsTrTN
— ABC News (@ABC) July 15, 2019
The Democratic-led House voted 240-187 Tuesday to condemn Trump’s comments, with four Republicans voting with Democrats in favor of the resolution: Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania (Bucks County), Fred Upton of Michigan, Will Hurd of Texas and Susan Brooks of Indiana, the Associated Press reported.
Kelly was among the 187 Republicans who voted against the resolution.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .