President Trump’s tweets on Sunday advising four first-term congresswomen of color to go back where they came from is resonating in time for major national meetings of black and Latino voters.
It’s summer, and that means that the country’s major civil rights organizations are hosting national meetings with thousands of attendees.
The National Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Bar Association, all advocates for black Americans, are scheduled to meet within days and it is likely that their programs will include discussion of the president’s most recent social media insults. The tweets fired off on Sunday from Trump came less than 24 hours after the League of United Latin American Citizens wrapped up its annual convention of 25,000 in Milwaukee.
Leaders for at least two of these organizations say the tweets are likely to be a hot topic or are now being talked up among members.
The president’s missives appeared to be aimed at progressive Democratic U.S. Reps Ayanna Pressley, a black woman from Boston; Ilhan Omar, a Somali American who lives in Minneapolis; Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian American from metropolitan Detroit; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Latina representing New York City. Telling someone to go back to where they came from is typically an insult thrown at immigrants. Of that group targeted by the president, Omar is the only one born outside the United States, in Somalia. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
Those facts did not seem to faze the president as he jumped into a Twitter tirade.
“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 … 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,” the president tweeted Sunday morning.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he went on. “Then come back and show us how it is done.”
National Urban League President Marc Morial told Fortune in an email that he expects that the four Democratic candidates now slated to appear at the group’s conference will address the president’s comments. The meeting starts Thursday in Indianapolis.
“President Trump’s unwillingness to accept people of color as fully ‘American’ has been on display since his embrace of the ‘birtherism’ conspiracy regarding President Obama,” Morial said of Trump’s ongoing refusal to believe Barack Obama was born in the United States. “What we’re seeing from him now is not exactly new.”
Morial added, “We do expect the candidates to reject this kind of blatant racial division, but we’re looking for very detailed policy proposals—not only to address racist rhetoric but to bring about true equality of opportunity.”
The four candidates confirmed, and more who have been invited, will headline two plenary talks at the conference.
“The Presidential Plenaries at our conference will be focused on the candidates’ plans for addressing economic and social disparities and uniting the country, in keeping with our theme, ‘Getting 2 Equal: United Not Divided,’” Morial said.
Also within the next week, nine Democratic candidates are slated to speak at the NAACP annual conference, scheduled for July 20th through the 24th in Detroit.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson, while holding back from anticipating what attendees might discuss, did tell Fortune via email that President Trump’s comments are moving the country in the wrong direction.
“President Trump’s racist, nativist and xenophobic statement that elected representatives of color should ‘go back where they came from’ represents a whistle call to white supremacists and increases the risk of racially motivated acts of violence against these congresswomen and people of color more generally,” Johnson said. “This kind of divisiveness moves our country backward, not forward. President Trump should issue an immediate apology to the freshman congresswomen who were the subject of his tweets, and to the nation as a whole.”
Seven Democratic presidential candidates traveled to Milwaukee last week for the LULAC conference, which wrapped up on Sunday. Trump’s tweets came through less then 24 hours after, but the White House posture toward voters of color is still resonating with group members, David Cruz, LULAC’s national communications director, told Fortune.
“Nothing surprises us anymore—this is par for the course for this man,” he said of the tweets. “It demeans the office and it certainly slanders women who are doing very good work, but he has no respect for these kinds of things.”
Through son-in-law Jared Kushner, President Trump had earlier declined an invitation to join LULAC’s week-long meeting. Because of this, the group was stung to learn that the president traveled to Milwaukee at the same time as the LULAC gathering to headline a Republican fundraiser, Cruz said.
“We are a bipartisan group and he chose to say ‘no’ to us on Tuesday, turns around and announces a fundraiser with well-heeled people at a gathering,” Cruz said, adding that LULAC president Domingo Garcia mentioned the snub at one of the conference events.
“We think it’s unfair that he (President Trump) did not see fit to come speak to thousands of working men and women but he chose to come via Air Force One and go have a private fundraiser with the well-heeled,” he said.
LULAC members feel they already know where the president stands, he said.
“He was not a topic of discussion at our convention because we don’t think he deserves our attention,” Cruz said.
The National Bar Association, which represents 65,000 lawyers, meets July 20th through the 26th in New York.
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