President Trump apparently called on four newly elected congresswomen of color to apologize to him after he said they should “go back” to their “broken and crime infested” countries. The comments were widely condemned as racist — and three of the four were born in the U.S.
“When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said,” Trump tweeted Monday. “So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”
Trump’s “foul language” jab was apparently referring to Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who once vowed that Congress would “impeach the motherf***er.” Trump lashed out again against “foul language” in a following tweet.
“If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out,” he wrote.
His comments came after Democrats, including presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced the inflammatory tweets as racist.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “Then come back and show us how it is done.”
The nativist rhetoric “go back to your country” is often used in racist and xenophobic attacks, including a recent hate crime in New York City last week in which a Hispanic female construction worker was attacked and told, “You’re here taking jobs from Americans.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., one of the “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” Trump was referring to in his tweets over the weekend, hit back at the president on Sunday, reminding him that she was born in the United States.
“You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez, who has the same birthplace as Trump’s father. “You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”
The four newly elected Democratic women, who call themselves “the squad,” are Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Omar became a refugee at age 10 when a brutal civil war devastated Somalia, a predominantly Muslim country in East Africa, and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
The first Somali-American in Congress and first hijab-wearing Muslim member of the House, Omar, who has faced fierce opposition over her controversial statements about Israel, also responded to Trump Sunday, tweeting: “You are stoking white nationalism [because] you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”
Trump had interjected an ongoing feud between House progressives and the Democratic establishment over a border spending bill when he called out the four freshman congresswomen. Last week, after Ocasio-Cortez had accused the speaker of the house of persistently “singling out” women of color, Trump defended Pelosi. “I’ll tell you something about Nancy Pelosi that you know better than I do: She is not a racist,” he said.
Pelosi, however, rejected Trump’s “xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” tweeting, “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.”
Later Monday morning, Trump doubled down on his defense by quoting Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., from “Fox & Friends.”
“‘We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of Communists,” Trump wrote, quoting Graham. “‘They hate Israel, they hate our own Country, they’re calling the guards along our Border (the Border Patrol Agents) Concentration Camp Guards, they accuse people who support Israel as doing it for the Benjamin’s, they are Anti-Semitic, they are Anti-America, we don’t need to know anything about them personally, talk about their policies. I think they are American citizens who are duly elected that are running on an agenda that is disgusting.’”