President Donald Trump used racist language on Sunday to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren’t natural-born American citizens.
Trump did not name who he was attacking in Sunday’s tirade but earlier this week he referenced New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when the President was defending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
A group of Democrats, who are women of color and have been outspoken about Trump’s immigration policies, last week condemned the conditions of border detention facilities. The group of women joining Ocasio-Cortez were Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Trump implied in the series of tweets that the congresswomen weren’t born in America and sarcastically suggested, “they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Later Sunday, Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter that the country she “come(s) from” and “swears to” is the US and suggested that Trump is “angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us.”
“You rely on a frightened America for your plunder,” the New Yorker wrote in a tweet.
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley are natural-born US citizens, while Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the US when she was young. Omar became a citizen in 2000 when she was 17 years old, according to the New York Times.
Trump’s tweets come as interest in the conditions of detention centers housing migrants has risen sharply and raids to round up undocumented immigrants are being conducted Sunday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in multiple major cities across the nation.
Democrats fight back
Omar also responded to the President’s attacks on Sunday and threw punches at Trump in a pair of tweets, writing that “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,” Omar wrote, adding that Trump is “stoking white nationalism” because he is “angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”
Pelosi jumped to the defense of the congresswomen and condemned Trump’s language. “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,” Pelosi tweeted on Sunday. “Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.”
New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the assistant speaker of the House, echoed Pelosi’s sentiments on Twitter Sunday: “A racist tweet from a racist president.”
On “Fox News Sunday,” Luján told Chris Wallace, “That’s a racist tweet. Telling people to go back where they came from? These are American citizens elected by voters in the United States of America to serve in one of the most distinguished bodies in the US House of Representatives.”
Other Democrats also criticized Trump’s tweets Sunday, including a number of 2020 presidential hopefuls.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand told reporters at an event in Iowa that Trump is “racist” and that he was “demeaning female members of the House of Representatives based on the color of her skin and their cultural heritage,” while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote in a tweet that, “When I call the president a racist, this is what I’m talking about.”
Andrew Yang, another 2020 Democratic hopeful, said in a tweet that, “Characterizing members of Congress as being from another country is part of the problem.”
Trump has routinely inflamed public debate and in turn rallied his base with comments about race.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, and this group of freshmen lawmakers have been embroiled in a dispute over the last couple weeks, although Pelosi called for unity recently among House Democrats.