Donald Trump has said a group of Democrat congresswomen should “go back” to where they “came” from in a series of tweets branded as racist.
The US president, attempting to exploit divisions in the party, wrote: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
He did not mention anyone by name, but the president appeared to reference a group of progressive congresswomen known as ‘the Squad’.
They include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in New York. Tlaib, a Palestinian American, was born in Michigan. Omar, a Somali refugee, moved to the US when she was 12 and is a naturalised US citizen. Pressley, who is African American, was born in Cincinnati.
The group gained attention after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplayed their influence in an interview with The New York Times. On Sunday, Pelosi hit back at Trump, accusing the president of “trying to Make America White Again”.
Pelosi had reportedly told colleagues she was frustrated with people using social media to criticise other members of the party, with the comments interpreted as being directed at the group, all of whom have large social media followings.
Trump wrote in a series of three tweets: “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.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” the president continued. “Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
Pelosi later slammed Trump’s tweet, saying: “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. Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.”