Representative Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) said opposition to Washington, D.C., statehood is “racist trash” after an unnamed Republican objected to his remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives.
“One of my Republican colleagues objected to #DCStatehood because DC doesn’t have its own landfill,” Jones wrote on Twitter.
“With all the racist trash they’ve been espousing in this debate, it’s no wonder they’re worried about where to put it,” he added.
The controversy arose after Jones said he had “had enough of my colleagues’ racist insinuations that somehow the people of Washington D.C. are incapable or even unworthy of our democracy.”
Jones’s remarks prompted Representative Andy Harris (R-Md.) to ask that Jones agree to have his remarks stricken from the congressional record.
Jones had objected to remarks from Representative Jody Hice (R-Ga.) after Hice said that if D.C. becomes a state it would be the only state “without an airport, without a car dealership, without a capital city and without a landfill.”
“My goodness. With all the racist trash my colleagues have brought to this debate, I can see why my colleagues are worried about a place to put it,” Jones responded.
Later, Jones clarified what he meant: That opposition to D.C. statehood means that objections from Republicans are rooted in fear, specifically the fear that “in D.C. their white supremacist politics will no longer play.”
The House voted 218-208 along party lines to approve legislation that would grant D.C. statehood, though the measure’s path in the evenly divided Senate is uncertain.
According to a poll conducted by Data for Progress and the progressive advocacy coalition Democracy for All 2021 Action and shared first with CBS News, 54% of likely voters think Washington, D.C. should be a state. 74% of Democratic respondents approve of statehood for D.C. Little more than a third (34%) of Republicans also support it. Urban voters (57%) and suburban voters (56%) clearly support it, as well as 57% of voters who live in swing states.
Washington, D.C. is home to more than 700,000 residents––that’s more than the states of Wyoming and Vermont. But D.C. lacks representation in Congress; those who oppose a statehood measure believe it would only advance the Democratic Party’s interests, guaranteeing it two seats on Capitol Hill. Some also say the move would violate the 23rd Amendment, which allows D.C. residents to vote in presidential elections but gives them as much say as the residents of the “least populous State.”
The White House formally declared its support for a measure that would grant D.C. statehood earlier this week.
“Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of administration policy. “Washington, D.C. has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”
The White House called on Congress “to provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood for the people of Washington, D.C.”