- Trump's attack may have been a strategy to split the Democrats, who debate internally on how the opposition should act.
- "Racism and xenophobia have no place in America," said Joe Biden, a favorite to win the party's nomination.
- Trump has a history of controversial statements.
US President Donald Trump faces a flurry of criticism following statements deemed racist about women politicians in the Democratic Party. Trump wrote in his Twitter account on Sunday:
“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. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. 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!”
Trump referred to “Democratic Progressive Congresswomen,” in an apparent reference to an active group of young female congressional rookies in the current House of Representatives. Among them are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, elected by New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
The president did not identify the congresswomen by name, but another tweet of his own, referring to people who “hate Israel with a boundless passion,” seems to refer to Omar and Tlaib, who recently engaged in some controversies related to the traditional US ally.
Tlaib, born in Detroit, is a descendant of Palestinians. Omar arrived in the United States as a refugee as a child after his family fled conflicts in Somalia. She is the first black Muslim woman to be elected to the US Congress. Ocasio-Cortez, born in New York, is a descendant of Puerto Ricans, and Pressley, from Cincinnati, is the first African-American to be elected by Massachusetts.
Trump’s attack may have been a strategy to split the Democrats, who debate internally on how the opposition should act and whether or not the party should initiate impeachment proceedings against the president.
Also via Twitter, the congresswomen have rebuffed Trump’s remarks. “You incite white nationalism because you get angry that people like us serve Congress and fight your hateful agenda,” Omar said. “I fight corruption in our country. I do this every day, as a US congressman,” Tlaib wrote. “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like,” Pressley said, while Ocasio-Cortez stated that Trump is angry because “he can not conceive of an America that includes us.”
Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi had been embroiled in a fierce contest within the party, but after Trump’s tweets, the Democratic leader stepped up in defense of the young congresswoman and said that Trump wants to “make America white again,” making an allusion to the Republican campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
The president’s tweets have also been heavily criticized by leading Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination to run for the White House against Trump next year. “Racism and xenophobia have no place in America,” said Joe Biden, a favorite to win the party’s nomination. Senator Elizabeth Warren used the same terms in denouncing “a racist and xenophobic attack by Trump on Democratic congressmen.”
“Let’s call the president’s racist attack exactly what it is: anti-American,” said Kamala Harris, a senator who gained prominence after the early debates of the Democratic candidates. “When I call Trump a racist, that’s what I’m talking about,” Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the most popular candidates among Democrats, tweeted.
Trump has a history of controversial statements. Last year, for example, he reportedly referred to some African nations in a private meeting as “sh*thole countries.” In 2017, after a crowd in Charlottesville that contained white nationalists clashed with a crowd that contained violent far-leftists, Trump said there were good people “on both sides.” During the campaign for the 2016 presidential elections, he referred to some Mexicans illegal immigrants as rapists.
His government’s immigration policies are often criticized by the left for being discriminatory, amid a series of allegations of mistreatment of migrants in detention centers along the country’s border with Mexico.
After mixed ruling from the Supreme Court, Trump gave up on his efforts to include in the next American census a question about the citizenship of the interviewees. The measure had been the target of strong criticism from the opposition and NGOs, who accused the president of wanting to keep a record of illegal foreigners in the country, raising fears in some communities.