Sunday 18 August 2019

Trump wants apology from targets of his 'racist attack'

Controversy: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) and Ilhan Omar. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Controversy: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) and Ilhan Omar. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

John Wagner Washington

US president Donald Trump yesterday called on a group of minority, liberal congresswomen to "apologise" to the United States, Israel and to him a day after he said in inflammatory tweets that they should "go back" to their countries.

"When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologise to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said," Mr Trump said in a new tweet yesterday. "So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!"

With his latest tweet, Mr Trump dug in further on a line of attack that has drawn widespread condemnation from Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on Sunday called the president's comments "xenophobic". Republicans have remained largely silent.

Mr Trump's tweets appeared to target four outspoken freshmen politicians who have been feuding with Ms Pelosi: Democratic representatives Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, and Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota. Only one of them - Ms Omar - was born outside the United States.

All four have called for Mr Trump's impeachment. Ms Tlaib has done so using profane language.

Earlier this year, Ms Omar apologised after she was widely accused of anti-Semitic speech for suggesting that supporters of Israel's government have an "allegiance to a foreign country".

Mr Trump's tweets on Sunday morning were sent before he headed to his golf club in Sterling, Virginia.

"So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run," Mr Trump tweeted.

"Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," Mr Trump added. "Then come back and show us how it is done."

Ms Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Ms Tlaib was born in Detroit and Ms Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York. Ms Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia; her family fled the country amid civil war when she was a child, and she became a US citizen as a teenager.

Ms Pelosi subsequently described Mr Trump's tweets as racist and divisive.

"When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to 'Make America Great Again' has always been about making America white again," she said in a tweet. "Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power."

His comments led to attacks from senior Democrats, with presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren condemning the "racist and xenophobic attack" and another 2020 contender, former Texas representative Beto O'Rourke, saying "this is racist".

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the president's comments were "not OK and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly".

Meanwhile, Theresa May issued a parting shot at Mr Trump as she prepared to leave office, calling the US president's comments about the group of Democrat congresswomen "completely unacceptable".

Mrs May's spokesman said: "Her view is that the language used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable."

Mr Trump and Mrs May, who leaves office in just over a week, have had a roller-coaster relationship. Earlier this month, they publicly fell out over the resignation of Sir Kim Darroch, the UK's ambassador to Washington, after his diplomatic cables were leaked.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating the leak, but have been accused of being "heavy handed" in their approach to the reporting of further releases.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis called for senior officer Neil Basu to be pulled from the investigation after he urged journalists in possession of leaked government documents to return them, warning any further publication from the dispatches could result in prosecution.

Mr Davis wrote to the 'Times' accusing Mr Basu of "straying beyond his brief" and called for commissioner Cressida Dick to put the investigation in the hands of "an officer who puts preservation of our free press ahead of protection of the state's reputation".

The Washington Post

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