Monday, 14 October 2019

Trump digs in amid censure of racist tweets about lawmakers

U.S. Reps Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) hold a news conference after Democrats in the U.S. Congress moved to formally condemn President Donald Trump’s attacks on the four minority congresswomen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 15, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

WASHINGTON: Injecting race into his criticism of liberal Democrats, President Donald Trump said four congresswomen of colour should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from, ignoring the fact that all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the U.S. His attack drew a searing condemnation from Democrats who labelled the remarks racist and breathtakingly divisive.

Even as White House officials moved to defend his incendiary weekend tweets, Trump refused to apologize and asked on Twitter when “the Radical Left Congresswomen” would “apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said.”

“So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!” he wrote. Trump had starkly injected race into his criticism of liberal Democrats over the weekend, drawing searing condemnation from Democrats who labelled the remarks racist and breathtakingly divisive.

Asked whether Trump’s comments were racist, Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, defended Trump, telling reporters he had been responding to “very specific” comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia, and not making a “universal statement.”

But Trump didn’t make that distinction in his Monday tweets. He cited “Congresswomen” – an almost-certain reference to a group of women known as “the squad” that includes Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

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