President Donald Trump’s propaganda media arm, Fox News, reveled in the president’s racist tweet that told “Progressive Democrat Congresswomen” to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.” It’s yet another clearly racist remark from our vile racist-in-chief, this time aimed at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN). Because, according to Trump, you’re not American if you’re not white.
Fox and Friends hosts laugh about Trump’s tweets this am telling Reps. AOC, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib to “go back” to the "crime infested places from which they came"
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) July 14, 2019
As correspondent Griff Jenkins read Trump’s tweet aloud, the other hosts giggled, and Jedediah Bila remarked, “Someone’s feeling very comedic today,” and Todd Piro referred to Trump as “comedian-in-chief.” Piro then derided the congresswomen by saying that they speak in “inspirational memes” and mocking their social media presence. “This is real life. The words you say have consequences,” Piro said, as if the president’s racist comments about these women don’t have consequences that come in the form of direct threats to their lives and their safety.
But more than just endorsing the president’s racism, Fox News likely prompted the tweet from the president, as Matthew Gertz, senior fellow at Media Matters, pointed out on Twitter. Gertz noted that just 20 minutes before Trump’s tweets, the network ran a segment about “the Squad,” as the congresswomen have dubbed themselves, and aired clips of Tlaib and Pressley speaking at Netroots Nation. Gertz also said that Tucker Carlson has gone on extended rants about Omar in recent days, saying, “Our country rescued Ilhan Omar from the single worst place on Earth… How did Omar respond to the remarkable gift we gave her? She scolded us, and called us names.”
About 20 minutes before this morning's grotesque Trump rant, Fox & Friends ran a segment about "the Squad" and aired comments Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley (both born in the U.S.) made at Netroots Nation.
Left, Fox & Friends Sunday, 8:06 a.m.
Right, Trump, 8:27 a.m. pic.twitter.com/BPClb9Ir1x
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) July 14, 2019
Since the beginning of his presidency, Trump has often tweeted seemingly in response to programming on Fox News, even going so far as promoting episodes of Sean Hannity on his Twitter account. And it has been reported that the president prefers to watch Fox and Friends as his version of a morning briefing, often tweeting about specific segments. Trump even brought along Fox News host Tucker Carlson to his North Korea meeting with Kim Jong-Un. His tweet about these four congresswomen of color seems to be yet another example of Fox influencing the president’s thinking and tweeting.
Pressley responded to Trump’s tweet with a tweet of her own, saying, “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere. Except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalize and vilify everyday.”
THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere. Except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalize and vilify everyday. pic.twitter.com/vYzoxCgN0X
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) July 14, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez replied, saying, “You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder… On top of not accepting an America that elected us, you cannot accept that we don’t fear you, either.”
You are angry because you don’t believe in an America where I represent New York 14, where the good people of Minnesota elected @IlhanMN, where @RashidaTlaib fights for Michigan families, where @AyannaPressley champions little girls in Boston.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 14, 2019
But you know what’s the rub of it all, Mr. President?
On top of not accepting an America that elected us, you cannot accept that we don’t fear you,either.
You can’t accept that we will call your bluff & offer a positive vision for this country. And that’s what makes you seethe.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 14, 2019
Tlaib and Omar responded as well. Omar said, “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,” adding a Robert F. Kennedy Jr. quote about diversity being America’s strength. And Tlaib tweeted, “Detroit taught me how to fight for the communities you continue to degrade & attack. Keep talking, you’ll be out of the [White House] soon.”
You are stoking white nationalism bc you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.
“America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.” -RFK
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 14, 2019
Yo @realDonaldTrump, 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. Keep talking, you’ll be out of the WH soon. #TickTock
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) July 14, 2019
But let’s not let House Speaker Nancy Pelosi off the hook here either, although she did condemn Trump’s tweets about the congresswomen, calling his comments “xenophobic.” Pelosi’s public criticism of these vocal members of Congress—women of color who recently emotionally testified to the inhumane conditions at immigrant detention centers after visiting them (while Pelosi has yet to make any such visit herself)—has played a role in further publicizing the divide between herself and progressive members of her caucus, a division that Fox News and the president are more than happy to exploit and use for their own racist, nefarious purposes.