WASHINGTON — President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to argue that prior comments he made about four Democratic congresswomen of color were not racist.
“Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump wrote.
It was Trump’s latest response to an uproar after a string of tweets he sent last Sunday, when he declared that a quartet of prominent progressive congresswomen of color “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.”
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump’s thread continued. “Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”
All four of the congresswomen — Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — are American citizens. Omar, a Somali refugee, became a citizen in 2000. The other three lawmakers were born in the U.S.
Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded to Trump’s tweet on Tuesday, saying he has a “racist mind” and “racist heart.”
You’re right, Mr. President - you don’t have a racist bone in your body.
You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest.
That’s why you violate the rights of children and tell the Congresswoman who represents your home borough, to “go back to my country.” https://t.co/adlCUO7r0v
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 16, 2019
Telling minorities to “go back” to their countries is a common racist trope, in which people of color are accused of being less American. The president has repeatedly been accused of racism throughout his life, including during his career as a real estate entrepreneur, his campaign, and his time in the White House.
Trump’s new round of tweets about the controversy on Tuesday came as House Democrats prepared to vote on a resolution condemning his attack on the congresswomen. Republicans, who have largely avoided weighing in on the president’s remarks, have faced mounting pressure to respond. Trump referenced these issues in his latest messages, in which he urged his fellow Republicans not to join the condemnations of his comments.
“The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap,” Trump said, adding, “This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat … Congresswomen, who I truly believe, based on their actions, hate our Country. Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said.”
The four congresswomen, who have declared themselves “the Squad,” are all freshmen who have quickly become some of the most outspoken and left-leaning members of the House since taking office earlier this year. They have been extremely critical of both Trump and the Democratic Party’s congressional leadership.
Trump’s initial attacks on the congresswomen came amid an increasingly heated dispute among the quartet, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and more moderate Democrats over a recent vote that provided funding to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. Supporters of the vote said the money was needed to improve conditions for migrants who are currently in detention. The four congresswomen argued the money was being provided without measures to add accountability or limits to the agencies’ immigration detention programs.
Trump’s campaign has said it hopes to capitalize on Democratic infighting as he runs for reelection next year. The president concluded his tweets about the controversy by pointing to a controversial poll suggesting the quartet of Democratic congresswomen have low approval ratings in key swing states.
“Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party,” Trump wrote, adding, “See you in 2020!”
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