AP

Trump Renews Racist Criticism, Says Many Agree With Him

Jul 16, 2019, 5:14 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:04 pm
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks as reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the four progressive Democratic congresswomen, saying that if they're not happy in the U.S. "they can leave." (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
(D-MN)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defiant in the face of widespread criticism, President Donald Trump renewed his belligerent call for four Democratic congresswomen of color to get out of the U.S. “right now,” cementing his position as the most willing U.S. leader in generations to stoke the discord that helped send him to the White House.

Content to gamble that a sizable chunk of the electorate embraces his tweets that have been widely denounced as racist , the president made clear that he has no qualms about exploiting racial divisions once again.

“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “A lot of people love it, by the way.”

The episode served notice that Trump is willing to again rely on incendiary rhetoric on issues of race and immigration to preserve his political base in the leadup to the 2020 election.

There was near unanimous condemnation from Democrats for Trump’s comments and a rumble of discontent from a subset of Republicans — but notably not from the party’s congressional leaders.

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the party’s White House nominee in 2012 and now one of the president’s most vocal GOP critics, said Trump’s comments were “destructive, demeaning, and disunifying.”

Far from backing down, Trump on Monday dug in on comments he had initially made a day earlier on Twitter that if lawmakers “hate our country,” they can go back to their “broken and crime-infested” countries. His remarks were directed at four congresswomen: Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S.

“If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, you can leave, you can leave right now,” he said.

The president’s words, which evoked the trope of telling black people to go back to Africa, may have been partly meant to widen the divides within the House Democratic caucus, which has been riven by internal debate over how best to oppose his policies. And while Trump’s attacks brought Democrats together in defense of their colleagues, his allies noted he was also having some success in making the controversial progressive lawmakers the face of their party.

The president questioned whether Democrats should “want to wrap” themselves around this group of four people as he recited a list of the quartet’s most controversial statements.

The four themselves fired back late Monday, condemning what they called “xenophobic bigoted remarks” from the Republican president and renewing calls for their party to begin impeachment proceedings.

Trump “does not know how to defend his policies and so what he does is attack us personally,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said Trump’s campaign slogan truly means he wants to “make America white again,” announced Monday that the House would vote on a resolution condemning his new comments . The resolution “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments” and says they “have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer of New York, said his party would also try to force a vote in the GOP-controlled chamber.

Trump, who won the presidency in 2016 in part by energizing disaffected voters with inflammatory racial rhetoric, made clear he has no intention of backing away from that strategy in 2020.

“The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four ‘progressives,’ but now they are forced to embrace them,” he tweeted Monday afternoon. “That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!”

Trump has faced few consequences for such attacks in the past. They typically earn him cycles of wall-to-wall media attention. He is wagering that his most steadfast supporters will be energized by the controversy as much, or if not more so, than the opposition.

“It’s possible I’m wrong,” Trump allowed Monday. “The voters will decide.”

The president has told aides that he was giving voice what many of his supporters believe — that they are tired of people, including immigrants, disrespecting their country, according to three Republicans close to the White House who were not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

Trump on Monday singled out Omar, in particular, accusing her of having “hatred” for Israel, and expressing “love” for “enemies like al-Qaida.”

“These are people that, in my opinion, hate our country,” he said.

Omar, in an interview, once laughed about how a college professor had spoken of al-Qaida with an intensity she said was not used to describe “America,” ”England” or “The Army.”

She addressed herself directly to Trump in a tweet, writing, “You are stoking white nationalism (because) you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”

Republicans largely trod carefully with their responses.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president who golfed with him over the weekend, advised him to “aim higher” during an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” even as he accused the four Democrats of being “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American.”

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said “I don’t think that the president’s intent in any way is racist,” pointing to Trump’s decision to choose Elaine Chao, who was born outside the country, as his transportation secretary.

Chao is one of the few minorities among the largely white and male aides in high-profile roles in Trump’s administration. She is the wife of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who declined to comment Monday on Trump’s attacks.

The latest provocation came just two days after Trump inserted himself further into a rift between Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez, offering an unsolicited defense of the Democratic speaker. Pelosi has been seeking to minimize Ocasio-Cortez’s influence in the House Democratic caucus in recent days, prompting the freshman lawmaker to accuse Pelosi of trying to marginalize women of color.

Trump told advisers later that he was pleased with his meddling, believing that dividing Democrats would be helpful to him, as would elevating any self-proclaimed socialists as a way to frighten voters to steer clear of their liberal politics, the Republicans said.

Among the few GOP lawmakers commenting Monday, Rep. Pete Olson of Texas said Trump’s tweets were “not reflective of the values of the 1,000,000+ people” in his district. “We are proud to be the most diverse Congressional district in America. I urge our President immediately disavow his comments,” he wrote.

Several other Republicans went out of their way to say they were not condoning the views of the Democrats, while encouraging Trump to retract his comments.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who is up for re-election next year, said Trump’s tweet was “way over the line and he should take that down.”

Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania said of the Democrats, “We should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry.”

In an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll from February 2017, half of Americans said the mixing of culture and values from around the world is an important part of America’s identity as a nation. Fewer — about a third — said the same of a culture established by early European immigrants.

But partisans in that poll were divided over these aspects of America’s identity. About two-thirds of Democrats but only about a third of Republicans thought the mixing of world cultures was important to the country’s identity. By comparison, nearly half of Republicans but just about a quarter of Democrats saw the culture of early European immigrants as important to the nation.

___

Associated Press writer Hannah Fingerhut contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

AP

A worker rings up a customer at a cash register in a Walmart store on January 24, 2023 in Miami, Fl...
Paul Wiseman, Associated Press

US economy slowed but still grew at 2.9% rate last quarter

The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.9% annual pace from October through December, ending 2022 with momentum despite the pressure of high interest rates and widespread fears of a looming recession.
1 day ago
Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, tours a neighborhood in Kharkiv ...
Hanna Arhirova, Associated Press

Russian attacks on Ukraine reported; tank training to start

Ukrainian officials say Russia has launched a new wave of missile and self-exploding drone attacks on the country.
1 day ago
Chunli Zhao appears for his arraignment at San Mateo Superior court in Redwood City, Calif., on Wed...
Olga R. Rodriguez and Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press

Suspect in Half Moon Bay farm killings faces 7 murder counts

A farmworker accused of killing seven people in shootings at two Northern California mushroom farms has been charged with seven counts of murder.
1 day ago
In an aerial view, San Francisco police officers and F.B.I. agents gather in front of the home of U...
Adam Beam, Associated Press

California judge orders release of footage of Pelosi attack

Footage of the attack on former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband will be released publicly.
1 day ago
Justin Bieber attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolita...
Associated Press

Justin Bieber sells rights to ‘Baby,’ rest of music catalog

Justin Bieber's record-breaking pop hits from "Baby" to "Sorry" are no longer his after the superstar sold the rights to all his early career music.
2 days ago
This diagram made available by NASA shows the estimated trajectory of asteroid 2023 BU, in red, aff...
Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

Asteroid coming exceedingly close to Earth, but will miss

An asteroid the size of a delivery truck will whip past Earth on Thursday night, one of the closest encounters ever recorded.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Trump Renews Racist Criticism, Says Many Agree With Him