Donald Trump arrives for a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, July 17, 2019 (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty)
Donald Trump takes his campaign racism to a North Carolina rally, whipping up a crowd over four progressive Democratic Congresswomen.
Pursuing his tactic of portraying “extremists” taking over the Democratic Party, he repeated his Twitter call on the quartet — Reps. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — to go back where they came from.
Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City and is of Puerto Rican heritage. Tlaib, born in Detroit, is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Omar, who with Tlaib are the first Muslim Congresswomen in US history, came to the US from war-torn Somalia at the age of 12. Pressley, born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago, is the first African-American Congresswoman from Massachusetts.
On Monday, responding to Trump’s “go back”, they set out their positions on education, health care, the environment, and economic justice and said, “We don’t leave the things that we love — and when we love this country, we propose the solutions to fix it.”
But Trump, undeterred by criticism and insisting most people support his racism, stepped up the attacks in North Carolina:
These left-wing ideologues see our nation as a force for evil….[They are] hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down.
They don’t love our country. I think, in some cases, they hate our country. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it.
He targeted Omar, repeating the lie that she is an Al Qa’eda sympathizer, triggering the chant of “Send her back! Send her back!”
Trump fans eventually break out in "send her back!" chants directed toward Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who serves in Congress who Trump viciously smeared. pic.twitter.com/LX3eAEkfci
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 17, 2019
Earlier in the day, Trump fueled the derogatory falsehood that Omar married her brother to get him into the US: “There’s a lot of talk about the fact….I know nothing about it.”
At the rally, he belittled Ocasio-Cortez— “I don’t have time to go with three different names. We’ll call her Cortez. Too much time. Takes too much time” — for her involvement in revealing inhumane conditions at migrant detention centers. He claimed that, by calling the centers “concentration camps”, had called border agents Nazis.
Last month Ocasio-Cortez was part of a Democratic legislative delegation that saw two Texas centers. Confirming accounts by lawyers and activists, they brought out the stories — supported by video — of women suffering illnesses from a diet of bologna sandwiches, unable to shower, and drinking water from toilets because of broken faucets.
Targeting Tlaib, Trump complained that she used a “vicious” expletive when she vowed in January that he will would be impeached: “That’s not somebody that loves our country.”
He then repeated his re-election pitch:
Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country. A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American Dream — frankly, the destruction of our country.
“Triumph Over Hatred”
The Congresswomen responded with a call for unity in a decent politics.
To all those scared for our future: we can get through this better than we started.
We have the power to triumph over hatred, division, and bigotry.
But decency cannot be taken for granted. It is something we must create, advance, and actively work to build each and every day.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 18, 2019
Omar invoked the stand of the poet Maya Angelou:
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
And Tlaib put out a reminder that Congress is voting on Thursday for a raise in the national minimum wage to $15 an hour, as well as a renewed call for Trump’s impeachment.
In an interview with MoveOn, @RashidaTlaib says we "have a very dangerous ideology that is now in the White House that is fueling the kind of division that you see, but more importantly fueling violence, violence against immigrants and children." pic.twitter.com/TkpPmUcYuD
— MoveOn (@MoveOn) July 17, 2019