Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tried to sneak through a stealth phrase of praise for white people, but it got taken down — hard — in the House on Thursday.
Cotton, the man who has called slavery a “necessary evil,” was attempting to make a case for why Wyoming deserves to be a state but Washington, D.C., which has a larger population, does not. Wyoming, incidentally, has a population that is 92.5% white and 1.3% Black, according to census figures. The District of Columbia is 45.4% Black and 42.5% white.
Cotton hailed Wyoming over the District of Columbia, which is seeking statehood, because he said Wyoming has “three times as many workers in mining, logging and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing. In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded, working-class state,” apparently implying D.C. couldn’t match up.
Freshman Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) later observed on the House floor: “One Senate Republican said that D.C. wouldn’t be a, quote, well-rounded, working-class state. I had no idea there were so many syllables in the word ‘white.’”
Jones also attacked a comment from Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), who disparaged the District of Columbia because it doesn’t have a landfill.
“One of my House Republican colleagues said that D.C. couldn’t be a state because the district doesn’t have a landfill,” Jones said. “My goodness, with all the racist trash my colleagues have brought to the debate, I can see why they’re worried about having a place to put it.”
That drew yells from some GOP lawmakers, and Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) demanded the “racist trash” comment be stricken from the record because it was “unbecoming,” he later told Forbes.
A spokesperson for Jones told Forbes that Jones was “simply calling out GOP opposition to D.C. statehood for what it is: racist trash.” Jones agreed, however, to the GOP demands to drop the language to “avoid an unnecessary vote,” but “he stands by what he said,” the spokesperson added. (The full confrontation can be seen in the video up top.)
The House voted Thursday to make the District of Columbia the 51st state, which would grant residents of the nation’s capital full voting rights and representation in Congress. But the measure faces a tougher path in the Senate.
Twitter went wild over Jones’s takedown of Cotton. Many pointed out that it’s no surprise Wyoming has more loggers than the capital. Others noted increasingly disturbing GOP emphasis on continuing rights for only their party’s preferred voters, as opposed to all voters.