Congresswomen respond to Trump’s targeted attacks

U.S. Congress

The fallout continues over President Donald Trump’s attacks targeting Democratic Congresswomen of color: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

On July 14 Trump 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…”

He went on to suggest that the Congresswomen weren’t born in the U.S. and encouraged them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

But all of the women are U.S. citizens, and only Omar was born outside of the country in Somalia. Her family secured asylum in the U.S. in 1995. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, NY, Rep. Pressley was born in Chicago, Ill., and Rep. Tlaib was born in Detroit, MI.

Although his Tweets never referenced the Congresswomen’s names, because of his previous attacks against these women, political pundits believed they were Trump’s intended targets.

Trump dismissed the idea that his remarks were racist when speaking to the press Monday. “It doesn’t concern me, because many people agree with me,” he said. He went on to attack Rep. Omar by name, suggesting she supports al-Qaeda and questioned her loyalty to the country.

In response to his remarks, the four Congresswomen gave a joint press conference on Monday. Pressley warned the American people not to take “the bait,” as Trump was trying to distract from the issues.

She labeled Trump’s latest outburst as “xenophobic” and “bigoted” and abstained from calling him president. “I will always refer to him as the occupant because he is only taking up space. He does not embody the grace, the patience, the empathy, compassion, the integrity that the office requires and that the American people deserve,” she said.

Rep. Omar added that Trump’s most recent attack is the agenda of a “White nationalist” and a politically motivated antic to distract. She also called for Trump’s impeachment.

Later, when answering a reporter’s question about Trump’s comments, Omar said she was tired of defending her loyalty and that Muslims should stop dignifying those types of remarks.

“When people say that when you say a negative thing about the policies that [means] you hate this country, to me it sort of speaks to the hypocrisy …

“When this president ran [for office] and until today, he talked about everything that was wrong with this country and how he was going to make it great. So, for him to condemn us and say we are un-American for wanting to work hard to make this country be the country we all deserve to live in? It’s complete hypocrisy!”

Also on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that the House would vote on a resolution officially condemning Trump. “This weekend, the president went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language about members of Congress,” Pelosi stated to House members.

“The House cannot allow the president’s characterization of immigrants to our country to stand. Our Republican colleagues must join us in condemning the president’s xenophobic tweets.”

Trump has made a habit of attacking Black female elected officials, including Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Black athletes, women of color and immigrants.

Many political observers predict that he will increase his race-based and xenophobic attacks to help energize his base leading up to the 2020 presidential campaign.