Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

'Apologise to America,' Donald Trump tells Democratic congresswomen

US president stoked controversy when he tweeted the four Democrats should go back to where they came from

Donald Trump ignited controversy last weekend when he tweeted that four Democratic congresswomen of colour should “go back” to where they came from if they do not like the United States.  AFP / Nicholas Kamm
Donald Trump ignited controversy last weekend when he tweeted that four Democratic congresswomen of colour should “go back” to where they came from if they do not like the United States.  AFP / Nicholas Kamm

US President Donald Trump on Sunday increased his attacks on four liberal Democrats in Congress, all women of colour who have criticised his policies, calling on them to apologise.

“I don’t believe the four congresswomen are capable of loving our country," Mr Trump tweeted. "They should apologise to America [and Israel] for the horrible [hateful] things they have said."

The president ignited controversy last weekend when he tweeted that the Democratic congresswomen should go back to where they came from if they did not like the US.

Three of the House legislators – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – were born in the US.

Ilhan Omar of Minnesota came as a refugee from Somalia and is a naturalised citizen.

The first-term congresswomen, known as “the squad”, have been highly critical of Mr Trump and have challenged their Democratic leadership.

Ms Tlaib and Ms Omar have also been outspoken critics of Israel’s government.

Representative Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives oversight committee, denounced the president’s latest attack and said he had no doubt that Mr Trump was a racist.

“These are folks and women who love their country and they work very hard, and they want to move us towards that more perfect union that our founding fathers talked about,” Mr Cummings, who is African-American, said on ABC’s This Week.

“So when you disagree with the president, suddenly you’re a bad person.

"Our allegiance is not to the president. Our allegiance is to the Constitution of the United States of America and to the American people.”

The Democratic-led House passed a resolution on Tuesday that “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments".

The symbolic measure was aimed at shaming Mr Trump and the Republicans who stood by him.

Unbowed, Mr Trump launched a blistering attack on Ms Omar during a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night, pausing when the crowd erupted into chants of “Send her back".

After some Republicans denounced the language, Mr Trump said the next day he did not agree with the chants.

But on Friday he defended the North Carolina crowd as “incredible patriots".

After Wednesday’s rally, Ms Omar accused Mr Trump of “spewing fascist ideology". Ms Ocasio-Cortez said he intentionally encouraged the crowd.

“Roll back the tape,” she said on Saturday at a town hall meeting on immigration in New York.

"He relished it. He took it in and he’s doing this intentionally."

US Senator Cory Booker, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said on Sunday that Mr Trump was “worse than a racist".

“He is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gain,” Mr Booker said on CNN’s State of the Union.

Stephen Miller, Mr Trump’s top immigration adviser, said the president made it clear that he disagreed with the “send her back” chants.

“The core issue is that all the people in that audience, and millions of patriotic Americans all across this country, are tired of being beat up, condescended to, looked down upon, talked down to by members of Congress on the left in Washington and their allies in many quarters of the media,” Mr Miller said on Fox News Sunday.

Updated: July 22, 2019 09:11 AM

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