Rep. Don Young in his Washington, D.C. office. Photo: Liz Ruskin

Alaska Congressman Don Young declined an opportunity Tuesday to criticize President Trump for tweets he wrote that are widely viewed as racist.

The U.S. House voted 240-187 to condemn Trump for “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” In Tweets on Sunday, Trump said four members of Congress, all women of color, should “go back” to where they came from. 

Young voted no on the House resolution, as did all but four Republicans. In a press statement afterward, Young said the non-binding measure only contributes to partisan rancor. He did not mention what the president said, but did put in a plug for the diversity among his colleagues in the House.

“In fact, our varied perspectives make us more responsive to the needs of a nation of many people,” Young’s statement reads.

Of the three people representing Alaska in Congress, only Sen. Lisa Murkowski has criticized Trump. In social media posts, she called his remarks on Twitter spiteful and “absolutely unacceptable.” Some of her constituents chided her for not calling them “racist.”

Murkowski said she thinks the “racist” label applies.

“I took it in that context, yes,” she said Tuesday.

She chose her words to apply more broadly, she said, because she lots of people have escalated the rhetoric. 

“This is a reminder to us all that our words matter, and we need to use our words wisely,” she said.

Sen. Dan Sullivan called for civility, but he didn’t criticize Trump. Asked whether the president’s tweet was racist, Sullivan issued a statement Monday night saying the Democratic party has turned to the far left and has bad policies on energy, border security and Israel, but that Republicans and Democrats need to debate respectfully.  
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