Democratic congresswomen targeted in a xenophobic tirade by President Donald Trump hit back, saying he was trying to distract attention away from his policies with his “blatantly racist attack.”
Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts urged the US people “not to take the bait” at a Monday news conference.
The president first attacked the four lawmakers— all but one of whom were born in America—with a series of tweets on Sunday, saying they should “go back” to their countries of origin.
Trump was simply trying to distract with his “blatantly racist attack” on the four women of colour, Omar said. “This is the agenda of white nationalists,” she said.
Pressley also urged the American people “to not take the bait.” “This is simply a disruption and a distraction from the callous chaotic and corrupt culture of this administration, all the way down,” she said.
The four lawmakers—who have been nicknamed “The Squad” by some media—said attention should instead be focused on healthcare and immigration and, in particular, the treatment of asylum seekers on the southern border.
“Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy,” said Ocasio-Cortez. Trump “does not know how to defend his policies, so what he does is attack us personally, and that is what this is all about,” she said.
“We cannot allow these hateful actions by the president to distract us from the critical work to hold this administration accountable to the inhumane conditions at the border that is separating children from their loved ones and caging them up in illegal, horrific conditions,” said Tlaib. -AFP