The only black Republican in the House of Representatives has announced that he’s leaving politics not long after slamming Donald Trump as “racist and xenophobic” in response to the president’s Twitter tirades.
Will Hurd, a 41-year-old who represents a large swath of western Texas, released a statement on his official site announcing that he was leaving politics and would not be seeking re-election in 2020. Hurd wrote that he was proud of his service to his country, including his time as an undercover officer in the CIA.
Hurd had been critical of Donald Trump after the president took to Twitter to attack a group of Democratic congresswomen of color, telling to four to go back to their “original” countries if they were going to be critical of the United States. Of the four, three were born in the United States and the fourth, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, is a naturalized citizen after emigrating to the United States from Somalia.
As the Independent reported, Hurd told CNN that Trump’s comments were racist and xenophobic, saying that Trump should be “talking about things that unite us, not divides us.”
“I think those tweets are racist and xenophobic. They’re also inaccurate,” Hurd said.
Donald Trump had gotten bipartisan criticism for the statement, with even members of his own party saying he should delete the tweet and apologize. Trump did not delete the tweet and later defended the statements. At a campaign rally later in the week, Trump laid into Omar as hating the United States, prompting the crowd to chant, “Send her back!”
Rep. Will Hurd on Trump's racist tweets: "When you imply that because someone doesn't look like you, in telling them to go back to Africa or wherever, you're implying that they're not an American and you're implying that they have less worth than you." https://t.co/BpmnVT3fHt— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 2, 2019
Donald Trump later disavowed the chant, saying that he tried to speak quickly to get the crowd to stop the chant, but video from the rally showed that Trump actually fell silent and did not speak again until the chant had run its course.
Will Hurd in his announcement on Thursday spoke of the need for greater progress toward racial equality.
“Two centuries ago, I would have been counted as three-fifths of a person, and today I can say I’ve had the honor of serving three terms in Congress,” he wrote. “America has come a long way and we still have more to do in our pursuit of a more perfect union. However, this pursuit will stall if we don’t all do our part.”
Hurd added that he will still “keep fighting” to make America the best country it can be, but did not say what he had planned next.