President Donald Trump's Sunday morning tweets about a group of Democratic congresswomen of color are getting sharp criticisms from Michigan lawmakers and other Democrats.
Trump said the congresswomen should go back to the "broken and crime infested places from which they came." His comments ignored the fact that the women are American citizens and all but one was born in the U.S.
The president's tweets seem to target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and her allies in what's become known as "the squad." The others are Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Only Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.
Michigan lawmakers were quick to denounce Trump's comments and showed their support for their fellow Michigan colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who also clapped back at the president.
Tlaib mentioned the president in a tweet and said, "I am fighting corruption in OUR country. I do it every day when I hold your admin accountable as a U.S. Congresswoman. Detroit taught me how to fight for the communities you continue to degrade & attack."
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly), Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) and Rep. Justin Amash (I-Grand Rapids) all described Trump's comments as "racist." Kildee and Slotkin also both said the president's tweets were "un-American."
Six Michigan members of Congress responded to Trump on Sunday—five Democrats and one Independent.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Detroit) called the tweets "xenophobic" and said they were the worst the president has published. She and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Detroit) both condemned the tweets as divisive.
Trump's tweets put him in the middle of a dispute between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the liberal congresswomen. The Associated Press reports that Pelosi has been seeking to minimize Ocasio-Cortez's influence in Congress, and that prompted the freshman congresswoman from New York to accuse Pelosi of marginalizing women of color.
In a rare move, Trump came to Pelosi's defense in recent days. "She is not racist," he said on Friday.
Despite the infighting among democrats, Pelosi also decried Trump. She said the president wants to "make America white again."
"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 (if they even have a functioning government at all), 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," Trump said in the tweets.
"Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done."
He added: "These places need your help badly, you can't leave fast enough. I'm sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!"
This is not the first time Trump has been accused of having racist views. His political career was launched on the backs of falsely claiming that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. In his campaign kickoff in June 2015, he deemed many Mexican immigrants "rapists." And last year, during a White House meeting on immigration, he wondered why the United States was admitting so many immigrants from "shithole countries" like Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations, according to the Associated Press.
Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in the Bronx, New York, and raised in suburban Westchester County. She also responded to Trump on Sunday, saying "Mr. President, the country I 'come from,' & the country we all swear to, is the United States."
Pressley, the first black woman elected to the House from Massachusetts, was born in Cincinnati. She said "THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like."
Omar, the first Somali native elected to Congress and one of its first Muslim women, was born in Somalia but spent much of her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp as civil war tore apart her home country. She immigrated to the United States at age 12, teaching herself English by watching American TV and eventually settling with her family in Minneapolis. She responded to Trump by saying, "As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States. Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen."
Tlaib was born in Detroit.
The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.
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