President Trump defends racist tweets against Democratic congresswomen
Three local Republican congressmen said they disagree with the choice of words used in tweets by President Donald Trump about four Democratic minority congresswomen.
On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted that the four should “go back” and help fix the “broken and crime-infested” countries they came from and then return and “show us how it is done.”
“These words were wrong and I disagree with them. It is unfortunate they may serve as a distraction from the important job we have to end this crisis, secure our borders, and keep the American people safe,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro.
“I share the president’s frustration over the amnesty agenda of some far-left Democrats in Washington. But this is an issue Republicans can win hands down on the merits of policy, and that’s where our focus must remain.”
The tweets, which have been widely denounced and labeled by some as racist, were directed at U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S.
The three GOP congressmen who represent parts of the metro-east said that while they disagreed with Trump’s word choice, they share his views over the country’s ongoing immigration debate.
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, said he heard from residents in his districts that Trump’s use of Twitter often doesn’t help.
“I regularly hear from constituents, including during my visits last week with area farmers, that President Trump’s tweets often hurt rather than help his agenda,” Shimkus said. “And while I share the president’s frustration with the dangerous open borders, amnesty, and anti-law enforcement policies pushed by far-left House Democrats, this was not a good tweet.”
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, again cautioned against the use of extreme rhetoric, and referred to when a gunman from near Belleville shot at Republican members of Congress practicing on a baseball field in Suburban Washington, D.C., for an annual Congressional softball game.
“We saw the outcome of over-the-top political rhetoric in 2017 when Republican members of Congress, including myself, were shot at on a baseball field, and over the weekend, when we saw another armed extremist attack an ICE facility in Washington State. While I strongly oppose many of the positions advocated for by my colleagues and their statements about law enforcement, I disagree with the rhetoric used by President Trump. Personal attacks do more harm than good and allow the harmful policies being pushed by far-left members of the Democratic caucus to be ignored.”
The four Democratic congresswomen have been vocal critics of Trump and his policies, including on immigration, and have called for his impeachment.
Omar, a Muslim refugee from Somalia has been a top target of Republicans for being critical of the U.S. and of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
The Democratically controlled House of Representatives is considering a resolution condemning the president’s comments . The resolution “strongly condemns” Trump’s “racist comments” and says they “have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”
In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said: “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 and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how 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!”
On Tuesday, Trump continued to defend himself and denied that the tweets were racist.
Illinois’ two U.S. senators, Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both Democrats, also criticized the president’s tweets in more stark terms.
“This is STILL a disgusting and racist attack on four American women of color elected by fellow American citizens. It’s STILL ignorant, shameful and utterly despicable. And it should be condemned by EVERYONE across the political spectrum,” Duckworth said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.