Members of Congress condemn Trump’s racist tweets
Three members of Congress from Pennsylvania are among those who have spoken out against Trump’s tweet telling four Congresswomen of color to "go back to the…
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“Go back to where you came from!” has been a racist insult hurled at immigrants for almost as long as our country has been a nation.
Now, it’s being used by our president against prominent members of Congress. In a tweet published July 14, 2019, Trump wrote:
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......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
....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....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
The tweets, apart from their use of the racist trope, are factually inaccurate. The four women that he is indirectly referring to are all U.S. citizens; three of them were born in the United States. They include Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts. The four women were recently elected and have been outspoken on issues like immigration.
Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib were all born in the United States. While Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia, she fled the country with her family as a refugee and became an American citizen at 17 years old, according to the New York Times.
On Monday evening, these congresswomen who are affectionately referred to as “the squad”, held a press conference calling out Trump for his remarks. This was followed by a press conference held by House Dem. leaders also condemning Trump’s rhetoric, Tuesday morning.
Since his first tweets on Sunday, many Democratic members of Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have come out against Trump’s tweets, calling them un-American, racist and bigoted.
Pelosi tweeted on July 14:
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.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 14, 2019
Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power. https://t.co/ODqqHneyES
Two of those members of Congress are representatives from Philadelphia.
Representative Dwight Evans of District 3 tweeted that Trump’s tweets were racist and retweeted several of his colleagues who spoke out against Trump.
While Trump posts racist tweets, his GOP allies in Congress are rooting for courts to kill the Affordable Care Act - with no real plan to replace it!— Dwight Evans (@RepDwightEvans) July 14, 2019
Democrats are fighting to #ProtectOurCare #ForThePeoplehttps://t.co/6OcILTFsPg
Representative Brendan Boyle of District 2, which includes much of Northeast Philadelphia, condemned Trump’s tweets by referencing his own family’s history as immigrants. Boyle is first generation American-born; his father came to the country from Ireland at the age of 19.
Like some of my Democratic colleagues, I’m young, from an immigrant family, also very critical of Trump. Funny thing though, he never tells me to “go back where I come from.” Hmm I wonder why? https://t.co/wdzsKG3Ptm— US Rep Brendan Boyle (@RepBrendanBoyle) July 14, 2019
“Trump’s tweet was clearly racist and there is no other word for it. I never hear ‘go back where you came from,’ yet my colleagues who just happen to have different skin color than I do get that all the time from Trump supporters and now even the President of the United States,” Boyle told AL DÍA in an interview on July 15.
He also explains why he feels few Republicans have reacted.
“It's very disappointing, but it's not at all surprising to me. One thing should be clear over the last three years, the Republican party is the Trump party.”
Initially, there was little response from Republican members of Congress against Trump’s tweets.
On Monday morning, Representative William Hurd, of Texas District 23, was one of the first Republicans to speak out in an interview with CNN, when he said, "I think those tweets are racist and xenophobic. They're also inaccurate.”
Hurd is the only black Republican in the House of Representatives and as of Tuesday morning, only 18 of the 250 Republican members of Congress have spoken out to condemn Trump’s comments about their colleagues.
One of those Republican senators is Senator Pat Toomey. He said in a statement: "President Trump was wrong to suggest that four left-wing congresswomen should go back to where they came from."
He added that he disagrees with views held by the four congresswomen on immigration and many policy issues, and said that their opponents “should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry."
Toomey is one of eight of the 53 Republican senators who has spoken out against Trump’s tweet.
President Trump has continued to defend his remarks and doubled down on his attacks on the four congresswomen, which received support from Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Graham said in an interview with Fox News about the four congresswomen on July 15, “they hate America.”
Trump has since told the four congresswomen in a press conference at the White House on Monday, July 15 that "if they want to leave that they can leave." This begs the question, as to when Trump first tweeted, telling them to leave and come back, if he wants them back at all.
Boyle has said that this racist rhetoric has been faced by many immigrant groups, and that immigrants add to the fabric of the country. Three of the four women who Trump targeted are, like Boyle, first-generation American-born citizens.
“The reality is the people who make that leap are actually taking a very bold act and they tend to be people who are ambitious, who want to work hard, who want to contribute to their new country.”