The hashtag #RacistPresident trended Monday morning in the wake of President Trump tweeting that the four freshman Democratic Congresswomen of color should “go back” to where they came from. All but one were born in the U.S.
Often called “the squad,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota were the unnamed subjects of the President’s Sunday tweet. In this thread, Trump denounced their outspokenness, despite the fact that telling a country how its “government is to be run” is, essentially, a politician’s job. He tweeted:
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.”
The only Congresswoman who “originally” came from another country is Omar, who is a refugee from Somalia and became a citizen nearly two decades ago. Ocasio-Cortez is a New York City native whose heritage is Puerto Rican. Pressley is Black and was born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago, and Tlaib was born in Detroit to Palestinian parents.
Pelosi responded to Trump’s tirade, denouncing his statements as divisive. The other targets also took to Twitter.
“Want a response to a lawless and complete failure of a president?” Tlaib tweeted. “He is the crisis. His dangerous ideology is the crisis. He needs to be impeached.”
Omar also turned Trump’s own words against him, tweeting, “Mr. President, As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States. Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen.”
In addition to #RacistPresident trending, #SilenceEqualsCompliance also had over 42,000 tweets. This hashtag is in response to the many Republican officials declining to comment on Trump’s racist — and inaccurate — remarks.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting U.S. citizenship and immigration services director, said on CNN that he believed Trump was referring to the splits in the Democratic party, but beyond that, was focusing on trying to fix the asylum system.
Former Republican Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and 2020 presidential hopeful called the comment, “not just embarrassing, but disgusting,” but otherwise, the right has largely been silent.
Amid Monday’s backlash, Trump defended his comments, claiming the Congresswomen he was referring to were the racist ones. He quoted Senator Lindsay Graham, who claimed the women were “Communists,” “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American.”
Also silent is Trump on issues of immigration regarding countries with white majorities. The First Lady, Melania Trump was born in Slovenia. Her parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, recently became U.S. citizens through what Trump has denounced as “chain migration,” a method with which relatives of adult American citizens who can gain residency.
CNN Republican consultant Ana Navarro also pointed out other white political figures Trump has not told to return to their countries: Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz who was born in Canada, and Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio who has Cuban ancestry.
The assumption that countries that are non-white and non-Westernized are inherently corrupt is not only racist but incorrect. If Trump was referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s Puerto Rican background, he failed to acknowledge Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S.
This is not the first time Trump has faced backlash for his ethnocentric white supremacy. In January, he referred to countries in which many DACA recipients come from as “sh*thole countries.”
Pelosi — who has often clashed with “the squad” — said, Trump’s plan to “‘Make America Great Again’” has always been about “making America white again.”