A fresh volley between the president and first-term Democratic congresswomen plays out Sunday on -- where else? -- Twitter.
The tweeter-in-chief takes the first shots with three morning tweets clearly aimed at House newcomers who call themselves "the squad" -- Rashida Tlaib of Detroit, Ilan Omar of Minneapolis, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Boston.
These swipes draw responses from Tlaib and others:
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......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
....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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
In a Monday column, Charles M. Blow of The New York Times blasts those as "three of the most racist tweets he could produce." An analysis in the same paper by White House correspondent Peter Baker says:
His assumption that the House Democrats must have been born in another country — or that they did not belong here if they were — fits an us-against-them political strategy that has been at the heart of Mr. Trump’s presidency from the start.
Also among those reacting, in addition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the targets themselves, is Washington Post senior political reporter Aaron Blake:
The problem — beyond the nasty historical overtones of such a sentiment, of course — is that three of the four women about whom he appeared to be talking were born in the United States.
Trump’s tweets on these kinds of things are often somewhat carefully crafted — enough to give him some plausible deniability. But it's pretty clear this one was directed at three American-born congresswomen, as well as one refugee-turned-lawmaker [Omar, born in Somalia], otherizing them and urging them to return to countries in which they weren't born.
Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women in Congress. Pressley is the first black congresswoman to represent Massachusetts. Ocasio-Cortez, at 29, last November became the youngest woman elected to Congress.
The representative from Southwest Detroit, never inclined to ignore public nastiness about her, speaks out in a 43-second video with the first tweet below. "This is our country, Tlaib says. "No bullying, no kind of attack to silence me is going to work."
#13thDistrictStrong: I will #neverbackdown and no bully, even this racist President, will waiver the work we have to do for our residents of Wayne County. Together, we will fight back, speak truth to power, and become stronger for it. #rootedincommunity #BoostAct #JusticeforAll pic.twitter.com/XkAcPA3FlL— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 14, 2019
P.S. @realdonaldtrump, keep talking, you just make me work harder. I'm proud of my Palestinian roots & a WEAK bully like you never wins. This is what America looks like ⬇️.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 14, 2019
P.S.S. #13thDistrictStrong will lead the fight for the #BoostAct #JusticeforAllAct while you golf. https://t.co/NY9QgamHml pic.twitter.com/1NkCi0syB7
Social media support for Tlaib and her squad-mates comes from Speaker Pelosi, who says in two tweets Sunday morning:
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.
I reject @realDonaldTrump’s xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation. Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values.
Another party colleague fourth-term Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles, tweets her reaction with this photo showing (from left) Reps. Omar, Pressley, Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez:
I will not share the disgusting and racist comments by Trump this morning.— Congressmember Bass (@RepKarenBass) July 14, 2019
Instead I will share this picture of 4 of my colleagues who will never stop fighting to make this country better.
This is what America looks like. pic.twitter.com/W0krakDXap