Trump versus The Squad: House vote expected
US President Donald Trump has continued to defend his statement and attacked the Democrat senators Cortez, Talib, Ilhan Omar and Pressley.Updated: Jul 16, 2019 22:34 IST
US President Donald Trump has continued to defend his racist remarks against four Democratic women lawmakers of color, who are being called The Squad, as they fired back calling his remarks “xenophobic” and “bigoted” and accusing him of pursuing the agenda of white supremacists.
Their feud continued into the third day Tuesday. The president sought to deflect attacks calling him racist— “I don’t have a racist bone in my body”, he said in a tweet — and attacked the lawmakers again, asking them to leave the country if they don’t like it here. Democrats plan to hit back with a resolution in the House of Representatives later in the day to condemn Trump and his remarks.
The president started the fight with tweets on Sunday wrongly saying the “progressive” lawmakers came to the US from countries with corrupt and inept government and that they should “go back” and that they “hate” the United States. “If you are not happy here, you can leave”. He used a variation of that line Tuesday.
Three of the four lawmakers were born in the US — Rashida Talib (of Palestinian descent), Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (family is from Puerto Rico, which is US territory) and Ayanna Pressley (who is African American). Only Ilhan Omar was born abroad, in Mogadishu, Somalia. She came to the US as a child. All four are people of color. And Talib and Omar are Muslims, and have been targets of Trump’s Islamophobic slurs.
They hit back in a joint news conference Monday, arguing, in sum, Trump “colluded” with a foreign government, heads a “corrupt” administration, is unable to understand policy, and is using racist remarks to divert attention from the pressing issues of immigration, healthcare, education and climate.
Pressley refused to use the title “president” for Trump and said she considers him only an “occupant of the White House”, and said his remarks about them were “xenophobic” and “bigoted”. She added, about the four of them, “we are more than four people, our squad is big” and it includes anyone who believes in an equitable and just world.
Omar said that under Trump the white supremacist agenda has reached the “White House garden” from chatrooms and social media sites.
Though Trump continued to deny he is racist, he has openly sided with white supremacists and has used hateful memes and tropes before to rally his support base — he said Monday many people agreed with his tweets. He could be doing all of that again here, and more. Some experts have argued this was an attempt by him to paint the entire Democratic party with the progressive political and social agenda pursued by the four young first-time lawmakers and a growing section of the party’s left wing, with an eye on the 2020 elections.
They have argued that Trump’s racist remarks forced the Democratic party leadership defend the lawmakers, reversing efforts to distance itself from them and other progressives whose agenda has been called “socialist” by critics.
There might be something to that argument, as it found an endorsement in a tweet by Trump on Tuesday. “Nancy Pelosi,” he wrote referring to the House speaker and the top Democrat in the country, “tried to push them away, but now they are forever wedded to the Democrat Party. See you in 2020!”