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GOP Remains Silent on Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Tweets to Congresswomen of Color

July 15, 2019, 3:32 PM UTC

Update 7:07 p.m. E.T.: Romney called Trump’s comments “destructive, demeaning, and disunifying,” and said Trump “has a unique and noble calling to unite the American people—of all different races, colors, and national origins.”

Update 3 p.m. E.T.: Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said Trump had “interjected with unacceptable personal attacks and racially offensive language” 

Update 1:35 p.m. E.T.: Maine Sen. Susan Collins has called Trump’s tweet “way over the line” and said “he should take that down.”

Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania said: “We should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry.”

Michigan Congressman Fred Upton said: “Frankly I’m appalled by the President’s tweets. There’s no excuse. Inflammatory rhetoric from both sides of the aisle that is used to divide us just isn’t right. It’s not helpful. We have too many challenges facing us that we ought to be working on together – immigration, the debt ceiling, the border crisis. The President’s tweets were flat out wrong and uncalled for, and I would encourage my colleagues from both parties to stop talking so much and start governing more.”

More than a day after President Donald Trump told four U.S. Congresswomen of color to “go back” to where they came from, his party has remained silent on the comments, save for a few members who are arguably not in the center of Republican power. 

The president took an otherwise quiet Sunday by storm by apparently tweeting at Democratic Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” 

He then went on to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The California Democrat had remarked the four women were only popular in “Twitter world,” among other criticisms against their staff members and their votes against a Democratic bill to send more funding to the U.S.-Mexico border as well. Trump also said the four members were “anti-semitic” since they did not voice full-throated support for Israel and wrote the “Radical Congresswomen” should “apologize.” 

Still, the GOP remained silent. After the massive social media backlash to the xenophobic comments, the president tweeted on Monday that he “think[s] they are American citizens who are duly elected” but their policies were what he questioned. 

Prominent Republicans, and even some Democrats, had expressed outrage over Ocasio-Cortez’s comment that facilities run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection were akin to concentration camps. However, no cabinet officials or Congressional Republicans have responded publicly to she and the others being on the receiving end of what amounts to being told they are not American and their home is not in the U.S. 

Tlaib was born in Detroit, Ocasio-Cortez in the Bronx bureau of New York City, and Pressley in Cincinnati. Omar was born in Somalia, but immigrated with her family to Minneapolis at the age of 12, then becoming a U.S. citizen nearly 20 years ago. 

The timing of the president’s tweets have also not been addressed by the GOP. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had scheduled raids across the country this past weekend to identify and detain undocumented immigrants. Often the officers lack warrants and in sanctuary cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago do not receive help from local law enforcement. 

A lone voice, Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, has spoken up. “POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S.,” the new member tweeted. 

However, even in that response Roy noted representatives “who refuse to defend America should be sent home.” His office has not responded to Fortune‘s request to explain what he meant by that. 

Congressman Justin Amash also of Michigan only recently changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independent. Amash, whose parents are Syrian and Palestinian, appeared to be unequivocal in his response to the president, calling the comments “racist and disgusting.” 

Even moderate Republicans like Susan Collins of Maine and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, both of whom have disagreed with Trump publicly in the past, have not said anything about the president referring to “the squad,” as they are collectively known, as being “Anti-American.” 

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