WASHINGTON: The four Democratic congresswomen attacked by President Trump in racist tweets over the weekend vowed that they would “not be silenced”, and instead turned their attention to the treatment of immigrants detained at the border, healthcare and education, among other issues.
US Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayana Pressley and Rashida Tlaib told reporters that Trump’s attacks were an attempt to ‘distract’ from his policies, and encouraged people to not “take the bait”.
“This is simply a disruption, a distraction from the callous, chaotic and corrupt culture of this administration,” said Pressley. “We want to get to the business of the American people and why were sent here: reducing the costs of prescription drugs, addressing the public health crisis and epidemic that is gun violence, addressing the racial wealth gap and yes, making sure that families stay together.”
The women were responding to a series of racists tweets and comments by the US president on Sunday and Monday in which he told the congresswomen to go back to where they came from.
Although Trump did not name the politicians, he was almost certainly referring to the four freshmen representatives.
All the four women are of colour and all are US citizens. Only Omar was born outside of the United States.
“I want to tell the children across this country … that no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you, and it belongs everyone,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The president’s comments received backlash from politicians on both sides of the aisle, world leaders and many online.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House of Representatives would soon vote on a resolution condemning the president’s racist tweets.
Although Republican leaders refused to comment, some members of the party said Trump went too far.
Republican Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican senator, said the president used “racially offensive language”.
Republican Representative Mike Turner called on Trump to apologise.
Others, including Senator John Cornyn, attempted to paint the tweets as “a mistake and an unforced error”. He added that he didn’t think Trump was racist.