On Sunday, July 14th, Trump told four congresswomen of color to go back to where they came from . Two days later, the House formally struck back, in a motion led by Congressmen Tom Malinowski and Jamie Raskin. The resolution, written by Malinowski, said that the House“strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”
Despite heading the resolution, Malinowski and Raskin haven’t tried to hog the limelight.
They could’ve painted the congresswomen Trump attacked, Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts, as damsels in distress. They didn’t. They could’ve painted themselves as heroes who bravely stood up to the racism of our President. They didn’t. Both of these men knew that both of these options would’ve racked up cheap points for their reelection campaigns, and they didn’t take them. Malinowski and Raskin knew that this wasn’t their story, yet they managed to head the first House rebuke of a President in more than a century without making it about them.
And this is hardly the first time they’ve been badasses.
With his experience as the Washington director of the Human Rights Watch and as Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Rep. Malinowski has a pretty extensive track record of denouncing Presidential missteps. He pressed Bush about ending black site torturing during the war on terror; he tried to get Obama to take action against the Syrian dictatorship; he attempted, at the very start of Trump’s presidency and the very end of Malinowski’s White House career, to stop Trump from overturning sanctions on Russia. He gave Politico a nuanced interview about foreign policy under Obama, and about how Trump has changed it.
Representative Raskin’s resume isn’t quite so star-studded—whose is? —but his experience as an ally is just about undeniable. He’s been a vocal supporter of gay marriage for decades, despite taking a lot of heat for it. He’s voted in favor of the Equality Act (an extension of the Civil Rights Act that protects the LGBT community), and he’s pressured other lawmakers to do the same. And his role as an ally to the LGBT community is similar to the role he played today, on the House floor, rebuking Trump.
An ally’s testimony may not have the power of experience behind it, but what they say is taken seriously in a way that women often aren’t. Because the House condemnation was lead by white men instead of women of color, the Republican caucus took it seriously. Malinowski and Raskin put their careers on the line to defend their colleagues. That matters. That’s allyship. That’s badass.