U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday 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,” echoing his infamous reference last year to some countries as shithole.
His latest comment was promptly condemned by Democrats as racist.
“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,” Trump said in a series of three comments on Twitter.
While he did not mention names, Trump appeared to be referring to 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 of Trump and also of the current Democratic leadership of the House.
Only Omar, whose family left Somalia as refugees and arrived in Minneapolis in 1997, was born outside the United States.
“Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ and the country we all swear to, is the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez, like Trump a native of New York City, responded on Twitter.
“You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”
Rashida Tlaib responded: My biggest fear is that he is intentionally distracting us from the fact that ICE is knocking on doors without warrants right now.He is distracting us from the fact that colleagues are at the border reporting on the horrific and inhumane conditions”.
Ilhan Omar quoted the famous author James Baldwin to cast her reaction: “There are few things more dreadful than dealing with a man who knows he is going under, in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others. Nothing can help that man. What is left of that man flees from what is left of human attention.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has feuded with the group in an increasingly bitter intra-party fight, but came to their defense Sunday along with other Democratic colleagues. She called Trump’s comments “xenophobic.”
“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,” she said on Twitter.
“Do I fit into the President’s category?” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin on Illinois, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” mentioning his family’s Lithuanian heritage.
“Thanks 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 as a dream. The president should not diminish it.”