President Donald Trump on Monday doubled down on his racist attacks against four progressive members of Congress, while U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) called it a “continuation of his racist, xenophobic playbook.” She also reiterated her call for his impeachment.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that Tlaib and U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) should “go back” to where they were born. Speaking with reporters on Monday, the president reiterated that if “you’re not happy here, then you can leave,” adding that a lot of people “love” his comments.
The four U.S. House members, known as “the Squad,” held a press conference Monday evening in response. Several Michigan members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.) and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.), have condemned the attacks.
Three Michigan Republican lawmakers expressed disappointment with Trump’s tweets: U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland), Paul Mitchell (R-Dryden) and Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph).
Trump talked with reporters at length on Monday and didn’t apologize, despite widespread criticism.
“If you’re not happy here, then you can leave,” Trump said. “As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave. That’s what I say all the time. That’s what I said in a tweet that I guess some people think is controversial. A lot of people love it, by the way. A lot of people love it. But if you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave. You can leave right now. You can come back if you want, don’t come back, that’s OK, too.”
Trump was asked about his assertion that the congresswomen could “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Tlaib was born in Detroit, Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City and Omar was born in Somalia.
“Well, they’re very unhappy,” Trump said. “I’m watching them. All they do is complain. So all I’m saying is, if they want to leave they can leave.”
The president also went after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said he was trying to “make America white again.” Trump said Pelosi made a “very racist statement,” but denied that his own were racist.
At a press conference in the U.S. Capitol Monday evening, Tlaib thanked her “sisters in service.
“As we all know, the recent tweets from the president are simply a continuation of his racist, xenophobic playbook,” she said. “We cannot allow these hateful actions by the president to distract us from the critical work to hold this administration accountable [for] the inhumane conditions at the border that is separating children from their loved ones and caging them up in illegal, horrific conditions.”
Tlaib said she represents the third-poorest congressional district in the country. She added that voters sent her to Washington to fight the “corporate assault” on her constituents and that also means launching an impeachment inquiry against Trump. That was something she also stressed at the Netroots Nation conference in Philadelphia over the weekend.
“Sadly, this won’t be the last time we hear disgusting, bigoted language from the president,” she said. “We know this is who he is.”
Pressley started the press conference by thanking people for the “solidarity” they’ve shown the four members of Congress in the face of Trump’s “xenophobic, bigoted” attacks. She encouraged people to “not take the bait,” calling it a “disruptive distraction” from important issues.
“We cannot — we will not — be silenced,” Pressley said.
Ocasio-Cortez said that “this president operates in complete bad faith.
“I am not surprised when the president says that four sitting members of Congress should ‘go back to their own country’ when he has authorized raids without warrants on thousands of families in this country,” she added.
Omar railed against “human rights abuses at the border, keeping children in cages and having human beings drinking out of toilets.
“This country was founded on the radical idea that we are all created equal and are endowed by our creator with inalienable rights,” Omar said. “And yes, we have a long way before we fully live up to those values. It is for that reason that we have to take action when a president is openly violating the oath he took to the Constitution of the United States and the core values we aspire to.”