President Donald Trump on Sunday said progressive congresswomen should “go back” and try to fix the “crime infested places” where they “came from” before telling the U.S. government how to handle its problems.
“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” Trump wrote in a series of three tweets.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” the president continued. “Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
Though he did not mention anyone by name in his tweets, the president appeared to be referring to a group of progressive congresswomen who have generated headlines and whose influence was recently downplayed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
That group includes Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Tlaib, a Palestinian American, was born in Michigan; Omar, a Somali refugee, moved to the U.S. when she was 12 and is a naturalized U.S. citizen; Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Latin-American descent, was born in New York; and Pressley, who is African American, was born in Cincinnati.
Pelosi on Sunday blasted Trump’s screed, saying that when the president “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.”
“Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power,” the California Democrat added.
Trump’s tweets were swiftly condemned by other congressional Democrats as well, who called them “racist” and “bigoted.”
“A racist tweet from a racist president,” tweeted Rep. Ben Ray Luján, of New Mexico, a member of the House Democratic leadership.
Rep. Don Beyer, of Virginia, said in a Twitter post, “This is undisguised racism, misogyny, and xenophobia, and everyone in Congress regardless of party should condemn it.”
Rep. Joe Neguse, of Colorado, said Trump was “spending his Sunday morning sending bigoted tweets.”
“Fact check: 3 of the 4 colleagues of mine he’s targeting were born in the U.S. And those of us serving in Congress who immigrated here or are children of immigrants like myself are American,” he tweeted. “Period.”
A weeklong feud involving the progressive congresswomen and Democratic leadership might have played a role in Trump’s tweets. Referring to the four women, Pelosi said in a Maureen Dowd column published in The New York Times last week: “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”
In response, Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview that she and her fellow progressives were being singled out by Pelosi as “newly elected women of color,” saying, “it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful.”
Trump jumped into the fray himself last week, defending Pelosi and saying Ocasio-Cortez is the one who’s been disrespectful.
“A group of people that came from — I don’t know where they came from — I’m looking at this Omar from Minnesota,” he added. “And if one-half of the things they’re saying about her are true, she shouldn’t even be in office.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he thought Pelosi was being “a little” too tough on the freshman lawmakers.
“You cannot ignore the young people of this country who are passionate about economic and racial and social and environmental justice. You’ve got to bring them in, not alienate them,” Sanders said.