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GOP lawmaker: 'I'm a person of color. I'm white.'

The Hill logo The Hill 7/17/2019 Chris Mills Rodrigo
Mike Kelly wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building: GOP lawmaker: 'I'm a person of color. I'm white.' © Greg Nash GOP lawmaker: 'I'm a person of color. I'm white.'

Republican Rep. Mike Kelly (Pa.) on Tuesday weighed in on criticism of President Trump's tweets targeting four minority congresswomen, saying that he is a person of color because he is white.

"You know, they talk about people of color. I'm a person of color. I'm white. I'm an Anglo Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don't get offended," Kelly told Vice News before a vote on a resolution condemning the president.

"With a name like Mike Kelly you can't be from any place else but Ireland," he said.

The term "person of color" is widely used in the U.S. to refer to anyone who is not white or of European descent.

Kelly told The Hill that the comment had been taken out of context.

"The reporter's tweet 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," he said, pointing toward the full remarks.

In the full five-minute interview, Kelly said that Trump must have been responding to something directly and that liberals would get angry if the president said "good morning."

He also added that he had "thicker skin" than other people and doesn't get offended by things as easily.

Related video: How Republicans defended Trump’s tweets (The Washington Post)


The House voted late Tuesday to formally admonish Trump, approving a resolution condemning his tweets from the weekend as "racist."

Trump's tweets Sunday suggested that a quartet of liberal freshmen, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), should "go back" and "help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Of the four lawmakers, Omar is the only one not be born in the U.S. She became a citizen in 2000 after fleeing violence in Somalia.

While four Republicans and the newly Independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) joined Democrats in condemning the tweets, many GOP lawmakers said the tweets were not about race but about the policies of the progressive congresswomen.


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