On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump told a group of mostly American-born Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.” This comment was condemned by Democrats as racist.
In a series of three comments on Twitter, Trump said, “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe… viciously telling the people of the United States… how our government is to be run.”
However, Trump did not mention any names but it appeared to be referred to the first-year Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – a group known as “the squad” that has been very critical for Trump and also of the current Democratic leadership of the House. Only Ilhan Omar, whose family left Somalia as refugees and arrived in Minneapolis in 1997, was born outside the United States.
Ocasio-Cortez, who like Trump is a native of New York City, responded on Twitter, “Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ and the country we all swear to is the United States. You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”
Pelosi, D-Calif., denounced Trump’s tweets as “xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” while the four congresswomen promised to continue fighting Trump’s agenda and accused him of trying to appeal to white nationalists.
She said on Twitter, “When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again.”
“Thank goodness,” he said of Omar’s journey from refugee to one of only two Muslim women elected to Congress, along with Tlaib, a native of Detroit. “That is what America holds like a dream. The president should not diminish it.”
Within a few hours on Sunday, Democratic lawmakers were united in defending their colleagues against Trump’s attack.
By Sunday evening, at least 90 House Democrats, plus Amash, had denounced Trump’s remarks, with more than half of them using the words “racist” or “racism” to describe his tweets.
Some Democrats went even further. “This is white nationalism,” said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., who is running for president. Republican lawmakers, meanwhile, stayed largely silent.