On July 14, 2019 President Donald J. Trump posted on his Twitter account tweets that were directed at four prominent Democratic Congresswomen of color. The women had been critical of United States policies under the Trump Administration. The President’s tweets stated they should “go back and…fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” His comments were condemned as racist from both sides of the aisle.
In August 2019, a Trump campaign petition about the Electoral College slammed “Coastal Elites and Liberal Donors” and referred to Rep. Ocasio – Cortez’s comments and stand against the Electoral College. The petition then ended with the phrase “This is our country, not theirs.”
The four Democratic congresswomen are Reps. Alexandra Ocasio – Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). All of the women with the exception of Rep. Omar are American citizens who were born in the United States. Rep. Omar was born in Somalia and emigrated from Somalia to the United States at the age of twelve and became a U.S. citizen at seventeen. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
When President Trump posted the tweets that told four duly elected Congresswomen of the United States to go back to their countries it caused confusion, anger, charges of racism and debates about the nature of American citizenship and participation in the political process.
The confusion stems from the fact that three of the four women were born in the United States. How could three of these four women be “sent home” when they were born here in America? The women came from African – American, Palestinian and Puerto Rican families but were educated and spent their lives in the United States. The sadness of the President’s tweets show that he viewed the color and family ancestry of the women as a point to degrade them without regard to their backgrounds and contributions to America thus far. White persons with ancestry from Europe, such as Eastern Europe, are almost never singled out to return to their broken countries because of their ancestry or skin color, which demonstrates why President Trump’s comments were deemed racist.
The anger over the President’s tweets comes from the fact that the President has to resort to racist comments in order to deal with political opponents. President Trump’s racism is nothing new as evidenced by his comments about Charlottesville in 2017 but his comments here show that he has no problems resorting to racism when dealing with Members of Congress over simple policy differences. Not every politician is going to agree on every issue, like the Electoral College, but that is no reason to bring racist insults to the table to try and discredit and silence political opponents.
Finally, President Trump’s tweets shine a light on how these kinds of racist insults can affect the ideal of civil rights in America. There is no requirement that newly immigrated people’s vote or role in civil and political life is worth any less than any other person’s just because a person’s family may have been in America longer. There is also no requirement that a person of a white or European race has a greater say in civil life over other persons whose race may be from other places like Africa or Asia. That is why the phrase in the Trump campaign petition is so troubling. Rep. Ocasio – Cortez is neither a coastal elite (she was once a bartender) nor a liberal donor so the phrase may have been directed at her ancestry. Who is the petition referring to when it says “This is our country, not theirs[?]” What they are likely implying is that these women can have no say in the direction of the country. This is contrary to the civil rights ideal that everyone, regardless of how recent his or her families have arrived in America, has an equal say.
If America is to fulfill the goal of equality in American civil life, then the kind of posts telling other Americans to “love it or leave it” should be given no place in American political discourse. Those kinds of thinking and statements perpetuate the mentality that some votes and voices are not as equal as others. And it also implies that recent immigrants should not be viewed as equal with others yet and thus cannot fully participate on the same equal footing as other longer residing citizens just because their families have not been here as long as others. America is for all citizens, not just for a select few. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio – Cortez – House webpage on stances on selected issues.
- Rep. Ilhan Omar – House webpage with press releases on recent issues and policies.
- Rep. Ayanna Pressley – House webpage on issues affecting Congress.
- Rep. Rashida Tlaib – House webpage on issues affecting Congress.
This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact Rod@USResistnews.org.
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo