Four Democratic congresswomen jointly fired back Monday at President Donald Trump a day after he made comments directed at them widely considered racist.
Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib in a news conference at the Capitol told reporters they condemn the president’s remarks, called them a deliberate distraction and said they will not be silenced.
Minnesota Congresswoman Omar accused Trump of “launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members” of the House, noting that they are all women of color.
“This is the agenda of white nationalists. Whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it is happening on national TV, now it’s reached the White House garden,” Omar said. “This is his plan to pit us against one another.”
Pressley called Trump’s attacks a “disruptive distraction” on the issues affecting Americans. The Massachusetts Congresswoman said she and her colleagues were voted with a mission to tackle issues such as affordable housing, health care, and immigration. She said the four have received much support despite the “xenophobic, bigoted remarks from the occupant of our White House. “
She urged people not to “take the bait.”
“We ran on a mandate to advocate for and represent those ignored, left out, and left behind,” Pressley said. “Our squad is big. Our squad includes any person committed to building a more equitable and just world. And that is the work we want to get back to. Given the size of this squad and this great nation, we cannot, we will not be silenced.”
The news conference came hours after Trump told reporters at the White House earlier Monday that he’s “not concerned” that his tweets against the women may be considered racist. In addition to doubling down on his tweets suggesting the Congresswomen “go back” to their own countries, the president said he believes that the congresswomen are socialists, borderline communist and “if you are not happy, you can leave.”
Trump also questioned the citizenship of the four congresswomen, three of whom were born in the U.S. Omar is a naturalized American citizen.
Ocasio-Cortez said she wasn’t surprised by what Trump said, denouncing his commentary. She said he was attacking the congresswomen because he is “weak” and isn’t able to debate his own policies.
“Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy,” she said.”No matter what the president says, this country belongs to you. And it belongs to everyone, and today that notion, that very notion was challenged.”
Tlaib said Trump’s tweets are simply a continuation of his “racist, xenophobic playbook.” The Michigan Congresswoman said her constituents represent the third-poorest congressional district in this country and she was sent to “fight back against the corporate assault and the corruption in our country.”
The congresswomen have taken Trump to task about his immigration policies as they condemned the conditions of some detention facilities along the U.S.’ southern border. Tlaib also joined Omar by calling for Trump’s impeachment during Monday’s news conference.
Meanwhile, Trump rattled off a series of tweets Monday evening, reiterating points he made hours earlier. He even criticized former president Barack Obama for the conditions affecting immigrants.
“The Obama Administration built the Cages, not the Trump Administration! DEMOCRATS MUST GIVE US THE VOTES TO CHANGE BAD IMMIGRATION LAWS,” Trump tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez said the congresswomen will stay focused on their agenda and vowed that “we won’t get caught slipping.”
“He can’t look a child in the face and he can’t look at all Americans and justify why this country is throwing them in cages,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“So, instead he tells us that I should go back to the great borough of the Bronx and make it better,” she continued. “And that’s what I’m here to do.”
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