After touring boats, irrigations systems, and the other Made-in-America wares displayed on the White House lawn Monday, President Trump took to a podium to give a longwinded speech riddled with lies about job creation, trade, and the manufacturing industry. He then asked for questions about the issues he had just addressed.
He didn’t get any.
As soon as Trump opened the floor to the press, he was pummeled with questions about a series of racist attacks he has made against a group of congresswomen of color, beginning Sunday morning when he tweeted that they should “go back” to the “countries from which they came.” The president didn’t hesitate to reiterate his claim that the congresswomen — presumably Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) — should leave the United States rather than criticize his administration. “If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave,” he said. “You can leave right now. Come back if you want. Don’t come back — that’s OK, too. If you’re not happy, you can leave.”
President Trump: "If you're not happy in the U.S., if you complain all the time, very simply – you can leave. You can leave right now."
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 15, 2019
“These are people that hate our country,” Trump added. “They hate it, I think, with a passion.”
Trump attempted to refrain from referring to any of the congresswomen by name, although he did mention Omar, whom he repeatedly and falsely claimed has praised Al Qaeda and favors the extremist organization over the United States. He also claimed, falsely, that Omar “hates Jews.”
The only other congresswoman Trump referred to specifically was the one who prevented Amazon from opening a headquarters in New York City, a reference to Ocasio-Cortez.
When asked whether it concerns him that white nationalists are “finding common cause” with him as he attacks congresswomen of color, Trump said it doesn’t because “many people agree with me.”
Q: "Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist & that white nationalists groups are finding common cause with you on that point?"
President Trump: "It doesn't concern me because many people agree with me and all I'm saying; they want to leave they can leave." pic.twitter.com/Y22gIXJbE4
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 15, 2019
On Sunday morning, Trump wrote on Twitter that a group of congresswomen of color who have criticized conditions at border facilities housing migrants should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The attack was presumably targeted at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Pressley were all born in the United States. Omar’s family fled her native Somalia when she was a child. She has lived in the United States since she was 10, and has been an American citizen since 2000.
Hours after Trump’s initial string of tweets, he attacked the Democratic Party for supporting the four congresswomen, calling their criticisms of his administration “disgraceful.” On Monday morning, he tweeted the lawmakers he targeted should apologize and said they were the ones who were “racist.”
Though the series of attacks represent some of the most blatantly racist and white nationalist rhetoric Trump has put out since taking office, Republicans have largely refused to condemn him. During an appearance on Fox News on Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) aped Trump’s claim that the congresswoman are “anti-America.”
Trump promptly tweeted out Graham’s comments, and used them to justify his racism again while speaking at the Made in America Showcase, which was, you may have forgotten by now, was supposed to be about manufacturing.