After being confronted about the president’s racist tweets from Sunday, in which he told four non-white congresswomen to “go back" to the “crime infested places from which they came," representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania told Vice: “You know, they talk about people of colour. I'm a person of colour. I'm white. I'm an Anglo Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don't get offended.”
“With a name like Mike Kelly,” he added, “you can’t be from any place else but Ireland."
In fact Mr Kelly is from Pittsburgh. He is also not “Anglo Saxon,” which refers to people descended from Germany who came to inhabit England and Wales.
Mr Kelly defended his comments, which were widely criticised, in an interview Wednesday.
“The reporter's tweet mischaracterised our conversation and my broader point: We’re all created equal,” he told The Hill. “It’s time to stop fixating on our differences and focus on what unites us.”
On Tuesday, the House approved a resolution condemning the president’s tweets as racist. The vote was preceded by a contentious session, in which congressional decorum was abandoned. The Pennsylvania congressman did not appear to address the vote in his clarification to The Hill.
Mr Kelly, who assumed his role as congressman in 2011, has been a vivacious supporter of Donald Trump. In 2017, his office was found to be full of oil paintings of the president and his family, including one piece of art depicting Mr Trump embracing his youngest son Barron.