President Donald Trump recommitted to his racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color during an angry press appearance on Monday.
Trump notably insisted on numerous occasions that the lawmakers loved Al Qaeda and hated the United States and Israel. He also called them communists, echoing the era of McCarthyism.
Trump opened by accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of herself being racist for the way she characterized the president’s tweets over the weekend. “That’s just a very racist statement — somebody would say that,” he claimed. “Speaker Pelosi said, ‘Make America white again.’ Let me tell you, that’s a very racist statement. I’m surprised she would say that.”
Pelosi’s comment was in fact an indictment of Trump’s “Make America Great Again” plan.
He then doubled down on his racist attacks against four members of Congress, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), saying that if the group of congresswomen did not like current U.S. policies, they could leave.
The president initially claimed over the weekend that the four lawmakers should “go back” to their home countries and fix things there before complaining about conditions in the United States, a common racist trope. Three of the four congresswomen were, in fact, born in the United States.
“If somebody has a problem with our country, if somebody doesn’t want to be in our country, they should leave,” he repeated on Monday.
Specifically referring to Omar, who immigrated to the United States from Somalia as a child, Trump claimed she thought Al Qaeda was “wonderful” and “great.” The remark was a reference to the congresswoman’s comments about 9/11 made earlier this year, which were later distorted and spread across conservative media.
Trump then extended that lie to include Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Pressley.
“When I hear the way they talk about our country, when I hear the anti-Semitic language they use, when I hear the hatred they have for Israel and the love they have for enemies like Al Qaeda, you know what? I will tell you that I do not believe this is good for the Democrat [sic] party,” he said.
Trump was also asked Monday whether he was concerned that white nationalist groups were championing his racist tweets and seemed to acknowledge that he welcomed their support. “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” he said.
Following Trump’s comments, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) took to Twitter to note the inherent racism in using Jewish people as a shield for other forms of racism.
“I have been pretty polite about this and so have other American Jews. But you really have to leave us out of your racist talking points,” he wrote. “You are not helping us, you are not helping society, you are not helping Israel. Your racism is your thing and we are not your shield.”
Trump has offered no evidence to support his claims the four congresswomen support Al Qaeda.