In what could hardly be considered a presidential comment, Donald Trump on Sunday attacked a group of Democratic congresswomen of color as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
While the president is clearly entitled to his opinions — even if they are only infrequently worthy of the office he represents — he should be a little more cautious about getting his facts correct.
The latest focuses of one of this Twitter attacks are Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaid of Michigan.
Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in the Bronx, New York and raised in suburban Westchester County. Pressley, the first black woman elected to the House from Massachusetts, was born in Cincinnati.
Tlaid was born in Detroit. Omar, the first Somali native elected to Congress and one of its first Muslim women, was born in Somalia but spent much of her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp. She immigrated to the United States at age 12, teaching herself English by watching American TV and eventually settling with her family in Minneapolis.
But one must consider the source. This is the same president who launched his political career with the false claim that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
In his Sunday outburst, Trump tweeted, “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,” he tweeted. “Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”
One can only wonder if British Ambassador Kim Darroch was thinking — privately, of course — “I told you so.”
The outcry in the wake of Trump’s comments was quick and loud.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “Mr. President, the country I come from, & the country we all swear to, is the United States. You are angry because you can conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”
“You are stoking white nationalism (because) you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda,” Omar said.
“Let’s be clear about what this vile comment is: A racist and xenophobic attack on Democratic congresswomen,” tweeted Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“Unfortunately there is an American tradition of telling people to go back where they came from. It’s a very bad tradition that we need to weed out of our nation because we are a nation of immigrants,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But you don’t expect to hear it from the president of the United States.”
Trump is clearly entitled to his opinions … even when they are ill-informed and reflect in the worst possible way on his office and the nation he was elected to represent.