WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his assaults in opposition to 4 first-year Democratic congresswomen on Monday after earlier telling them to “return” to the “locations from which they got here” in a collection of weekend tweets that Democrats and different critics known as racist.
Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress have had little public response to Trump’s tweets that appeared set to additional stoke racial division and gas rigidity on forward of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump didn’t point out names in his preliminary Sunday tweets concentrating on “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” however appeared to reference Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib – a bunch generally known as “the squad” that has been vital of Trump in addition to present Democratic Home leaders.
“Why don’t they return and assist repair the completely damaged and crime infested locations from which they got here,” he tweeted. “Then come again and present us how … it’s performed.”
All 4 of the congresswomen are U.S. residents and three of them — Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib — had been born in america. Omar, a Somali refugee, arrived in Minneapolis in 1997.
Trump afterward Sunday lambasted Democrats for defending the ladies, who countered with their very own tweets blasting him for pushing white nationalism.
On Monday, Trump renewed his assault, calling on the congresswomen to apologize to him, america and Israel for “the horrible issues they’ve mentioned,” a reference to previous controversial feedback the congresswomen have made.
His tweets comply with days of reported tensions between U.S. Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi and extra progressive members of her caucus as they search to capitalize on their 2016 midterm victories forward of subsequent 12 months’s presidential and congressional elections.
Additionally they come as Trump eyes re-election within the November 2020 election following his 2016 victory, which drew closely on assaults in opposition to immigrants and has since stoked racial tensions nationwide.
Pelosi and different Democrats got here to the ladies’s protection Sunday, saying Trump was exacerbating white nationalism and sideling racial minorities with “xenophobic” rhetoric.
Democratic U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, who’re amongst these seeing the celebration’s presidential nomination to problem Trump subsequent 12 months, additionally blasted the tweets, calling them “racist.”
One Republican lawmaker, U.S. Consultant Chip Roy, pushed again in his personal tweet in a single day.
“POTUS was flawed to say any American citizen, whether or not in Congress or not, has any ‘house’ in addition to the U.S.,” Roy mentioned. However, he added, lawmakers “who refuse to defend America” shouldn’t be re-elected subsequent 12 months.
Not one of the high 4 Republican leaders in Congress, together with Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell and Home Republican Chief Kevin McCarthy, or their representatives had any speedy remark.
Requested if Trump’s tweets had been racist, Ken Cuccinelli, Trump’s appearing director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers, advised CNN on Monday: “I wouldn’t go that far, no, actually not.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of workers, Marc Brief, on Monday defended the president’s feedback in an interview on Fox Enterprise Community, later telling reporters on the White Home: “This isn’t a common assertion he’s making.”
Further reporting by Richard Cowan, Mohammad Zhargam and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Susan Heavey