President Trump was condemned on Sunday after lobbing a trope widely considered racist at a group of United States lawmakers of color.
Trump said the four congresswomen should go back to the ‘‘broken and crime infested’’ countries they came from, ignoring the fact that all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the US.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump wants to ‘‘make America white again.’’ Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, after jousting for days with Pelosi, said Trump ‘‘can’t conceive of an America that includes us.’’
But the vast majority of Republican lawmakers were slow to respond to the tweets, if they did at all.
Senator Lindsey Graham offered only a mild rebuke of Trump (“aim higher”) before calling the women “communists” who hate America.
Graham, a close ally of Trump who golfed with the president over the weekend, offered the advice in an interview with ‘‘Fox & Friends’’ Monday morning.
He said the lawmakers ‘‘are American citizens’’ who were ‘‘duly elected,’’ and says Trump should ‘‘take on their policies’’ instead of launching personal attacks.
Still, Graham called the members ‘‘anti-Semitic’’ and ‘‘anti-American,’’ saying that ‘‘AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country.’’
Mitt Romney, now of Utah, offered a criticism of the lawmakers who were the target of Trump’s ire before saying the president’s comments “fell short” of his calling, according to NBC Boston’s Alison King. He refused to say whether he thought Trump’s tweets were racist.
“I recognize that the president has a unique and noble calling to unite all Americans regardless of our creeds or race or place of our national origin and I think in that case, the president fell far short,” Romney said.
Susan Collins of Maine called on Trump to delete the tweet in a statement issued midday Monday.
“I disagree strongly with many of the views and comments of some of the far-left members of the House Democratic Caucus — especially when it comes to their views on socialism, their anti-Semitic rhetoric, and their negative comments about law enforcement — but the President’s tweet that some Members of Congress should go back to the ‘places from which they came’ was way over the line, and he should take that down,” the moderate Republican from Maine said.
Another moderate, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, called on Trump to cease his Twitter broadsides.
There is no excuse for the president’s spiteful comments –they were absolutely unacceptable and this needs to stop.— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) July 15, 2019
We have enough challenges addressing the humanitarian crises both at our borders and around the world. Instead of digging deeper into the mud with personal, vindictive insults –we must demand a higher standard of decorum and decency.— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) July 15, 2019
Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said Trump should have stayed out of infighting between Pelosi and the new Democrats.
“Instead of sharing how the Democratic Party’s far-left, pro-socialist policies — not to mention the hateful language some of their members have used towards law enforcement and Jews — are wrong for the future of our nation, the president interjected with unacceptable personal attacks and racially offensive language.”
Pat Toomey released a statement to CNN calling the tweets “wrong” and urging Trump to leave their ancestry out of the conversation.
“President Trump was wrong to suggest that four left-wing congresswomen should go back to where they came from. Three of the four were born in America and the citizenship of all four is as valid as mine,” the senator from Pennsylvania said. “I couldn’t disagree more with these congresswomen’s views on immigration, socialism, national security, and virtually every policy issue. Bu they are entitled to their opinions, however misguided they may be. We should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry.
Three Republican House lawmakers weighed in on Monday. Chip Roy said Trump was “wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the US,” but then went on to condemn “Reps who refuse to defend America.”
POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S. But I just as strongly believe non-citizens who abuse our immigration laws should be sent home immediately, & Reps who refuse to defend America should be sent home 11/2020.— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) July 15, 2019
Paul Mitchell of Michigan called the comments “beneath leaders.”
Mitchell’s colleague from Michigan, Fred Upton, told a local radio station that the commnets were “disappointing” and “really uncalled for,” according to The Washington Post.
And Will Hurd of Texas, in comments to CNN, called the tweets “racist and xenophobic.”
Two Republicans not in Congress, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker and former Ohio governor John Kasich, weighed in on Monday. Baker called Trump’s comments “shameful” and “racist,” while Kasich said they were “deplorable and beneath the dignity of the office.”