The Current

'Call a spade a spade': Trump tweets about congresswomen were racist: liberal activist

U.S. President Donald Trump drew global criticism after tweeting that four congresswomen of colour should "go back" to the countries they came from, but many Republicans remained silent. We discuss the controversy with people on both sides of the political divide.

Reluctance to criticize Trump underlines 'hyper-partisanship' in U.S.: Sally Kohn

'If they don't like it here, they can leave,' U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday of the four Democratic congresswomen of colour whom he suggested a day earlier should 'go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.' (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)
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The row over U.S. President Donald Trump's tweets targeting four Democratic Congresswomen "is a very telling moment in [U.S.] hyper-partisanship," according to a liberal activist and author.

Sally Kohn said that people have often tried to take Trump's statements or tweets and "interpret them in their most generous light, and maybe shade the criticism as ... race baiting or racially insensitive."

However, she told The Current's guest host David Common that "at a certain point, you've got to call a spade a spade — and what he said was racist." 

On Sunday, Trump tweeted about "Democrat Congresswomen," saying they should go back to the "broken and crime-infested places from which they came."

He appeared to be talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

The four women, elected in November, have been vocal critics of both the president, and some policies of their own Democratic party.

All are American citizens and all but one, Omar, were born in the U.S.

From left, Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, llhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib respond to remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump after his call for the four congresswomen to go back to their 'broken' countries. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Trump repeated the sentiment at a press conference Monday, saying: "If they don't like it here, they can leave."

The congresswomen called his remarks a "disruptive distraction." but while Trump's comments elicited criticism from U.S. Democrats and world leaders, but many Republicans remained silent.

Kohn says the Republicans have instead chosen to "[line] up behind him and ... strain and stretch to justify what he said."

Adi Sathi, chief of staff for the Young Republicans National Federation, thinks criticism of the four politicians is warranted.

He told Common that they are "endorsing socialism," and "policies that are quite frankly scary for the future of our country."

U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his attacks against four liberal congresswomen of colour after a series of weekend tweets targeting them. 1:54

"When we're talking about these women in Congress, who are not necessarily supporting the greatest interests of our country I think they deserve some criticism," he said.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


Written by Padraig Moran, with files from The Associated Press. Produced by John Chipman, Danielle Carr and Rachel Levy-McLaughlin.

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