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Trump condemned for "racist" attack on Congresswomen

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President Donald Trump has attacked a group of Democratic congresswomen of colour as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came”.

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The women are American citizens and all but one was born in the US

Trump’s tweets on Sunday drew sharp rebukes from Democrats, who derided his remarks as racist.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president wants to “make America white again”.

And Republican Justin Amash, a Trump critic who recently took steps to leave his party, called the remarks “racist and disgusting”.

Trump was almost certainly referring to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and her allies in what’s become known as “the squad”.

The others are Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Only Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.

Ocasio-Cortez swiftly denounced his remarks.

“Mr. President, the country I come from, & the country we all swear to, is the United States,” she tweeted.

“You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”

Pelosi has been seeking to minimise Ocasio-Cortez’s influence in recent days, prompting Ocasio-Cortez to accuse Pelosi of trying to marginalise women of colour.

“She is not a racist,” Trump said on Friday.

On Sunday, Trump’s tone turned nativist.

“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,” he said in 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!”

The attacks may have been meant to further the divides within the Democrat caucus, strained over internal debates on liberal policies and on whether to proceed with impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Instead, Democrats as one voice denounced the comments, which evoked the old racist trope of telling a black person to go back to Africa.

“Let’s be clear about what this vile comment is: A racist and xenophobic attack on Democratic congresswomen,” tweeted Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate.

Another 2020 contender, Beto O’Rourke, tweeted at the president: “This is racist. These congresswomen are every bit as American as you – and represent our values better than you ever will.”

Few Republicans immediately weighed in on the president’s comments.

Shortly after the tweets, and a later post defending the harsh scenes at a border detention facility where hundreds of migrant men are being held in sweltering, foul-smelling conditions, Trump left the White House to go golfing at his Virginia club.

It was far from the first time that Trump has been accused of holding racist views.

His political career was launched on the backs of falsely claiming that President Barack Obama was not born in the US.

In his campaign kick-off in June 2015, he deemed many Mexican immigrants “rapists”.

And last year, during a White House meeting on immigration, he wondered why the US was admitting so many immigrants from “s***hole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and several African nations.

-AAP

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