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Trump tells Dem congresswomen: Go back where you came from

POLITICO logo POLITICO 7/14/2019 By David Cohen and Bianca Quilantan
a close up of a person: "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!” President Donald Trump said. © Alex Brandon/AP Photo "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!” President Donald Trump said.

President Donald Trump on Sunday called out progressive Democratic congresswomen in xenophobic terms, saying: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Trump‘s tweets were seemingly intended to exploit tensions with the House Democratic Caucus, though they drew a sharp rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has been at odds with some of the most liberal members of her caucus.

While the president didn’t mention them by name in his tweets, it appears he was attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a native of Somalia, and possibly Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), whose family is Palestinian. Both have been outspoken when it comes to Trump’s administration and the conditions of migrant detention centers on the border.

“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,” the president wrote on Twitter.

Tlaib was born in the United States and Omar, whose family fled war-torn Somalia when she was a child, is an American citizen.

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he added. “Then come back and show us how 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!”

Last week, Trump defended the speaker of the House against accusations of racism from fellow Democrats. “For them to call her a racist is a disgrace," he said Friday.

If Trump’s Sunday comments were meant to exploit a schism in the Democratic caucus, it didn’t seem to work: The House speaker stood with the members of her caucus.

“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. Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power,” she wrote on Twitter.

Pelosi added: “Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values.“

Others also denounced Trump’s remarks.

“A racist tweet from a racist president,” tweeted New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, the assistant speaker of the House.

Referring to xenophobia as “a very bad tradition,“ New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on CNN’s “State of the Union: “Here's the bottom line on what Trump is doing with that tweet today. He said he would make America great again. What he's trying to do is make America hate again.”

Also on “State of the Union,” acting citizenship and Immigration Service director Ken Cuccinelli told host Jake Tapper he didn’t know who the president was referring to in his tweets.

Tlaib recently gave emotional testimony and characterized the Trump administration's immigration agenda as governed by “a dangerous ideology.” Tlaib recounted stories of the migrants she met in custody and the conditions of the facilities. She was also joined by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), who earlier this month toured border patrol facilities.

Speaking Saturday at Netroots Nation in Philadelphia, Omar responded to critics such as Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson who have assailed her as anti-American.

“I believe, as an immigrant, I probably love this country more than anyone that is naturally born,” the first-term congresswoman said.

Sunday’s tweets were far from the first time Trump, a native of New York, treated political opponents as outsiders of uncertain loyalty. He cast doubts on the legality of Barack Obama’s presidency, supporting conspiracy theorists who claimed without justification that Obama was not born in the United States. During the 2016 campaign, he repeatedly denounced Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel (born in Indiana but of Mexican origin) and suggested Curiel could not rule fairly in a case involving Trump.

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