Lamentably, Donald Trump has done it again.
In a series of provocative and wholly inappropriate tweets unworthy of the office he holds, the president of the United States verbally lashed out at four of his most ardent Democratic critics in the House of Representatives — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts.
Not content with bashing the foursome, who are described in the media as “women of color,” he gratuitously dragged Israel into the embarrassing controversy he had single-handedly created.
Trump, condemned by the House of Representatives on July 16 for his “racist comments,” brought the opprobrium on himself after sending out a series of unpresidential 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, 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,” he wrote in a rant.
”Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump went on to write. “Then come back and show us how it is done.”
In a parting shot, he added, “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.” And in a reference to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, he said, “I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
True to form, Trump’s incendiary rhetoric was not only offensive, but factually false.
As he surely must have known, only one of the women he verbally abused, Omar, a Muslim from Somalia, was born outside the United States. Ocasio-Cortez, born in New York City, is from a Puerto Rican family of partial Sephardi Jewish descent. Pressley, an African-American, was born in Cincinnati and raised in Chicago. Tlaib, a Palestinian Muslim, was born in Detroit.
All four are critical of the Trump administration’s foreign and domestic policy agenda and of Israel, the United State’s closest ally in the Middle East. And Omar has been rightly accused of having made statements reeking of antisemitic undertones.
Whatever his reason, Trump had no right whatsoever to question their loyalty and patriotism, much less to advise them to leave the country. His remarks must have been balm to the ears of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, some of whom admire Trump.
It’s hardly surprising that Pelosi called Trump’s remarks “xenophobic.” As she wrote in a tweet, “Our diversity is our strength.”
And in an extraordinary rebuke, Joe Biden — the former vice-president who’s seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — went further, branding Trump as the most “openly racist and divisive” president in American history.
Trump, who has a Jewish son-in-law, insists he does not have “a racist bone in his body.” But in the wake of a 2017 alt-right rally in Charlottesville, to which left-wing protesters vocally objected, he claimed there were “fine” people on both sides of the barricades, a revealing comment that should have alerted people to his worldview.
And lest it be forgotten, Trump, too, disseminated a cockeyed conspiracy theory that Barack Obama — the first African-American president — was not born in the United States.
As if his verbal barrage was not inflammatory enough, Trump injected Israel into his tweets.
As he wrote on Twitter, “So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion.”
Elaborating on this theme, he wrote, “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize 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. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions! If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.
“We all know that … this crowd are a bunch of Communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own Country, they’re calling the guards along our Border (the Border Patrol Agents) Concentration Camp Guards, they accuse people who support Israel as doing it for the Benjamin’s. They are Anti-Semitic, they are Anti-America … They talk about Israel like they’re a bunch of thugs …”
As Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League correctly noted, Trump’s meanderings risk damaging bipartisan support for Israel in the United States.
“As Jews, we are all too familiar with this kind of divisive prejudice,” he said. “While ADL has publicly disagreed with these congresswomen on some issues, the president is echoing the racist talking points of white nationalists and cynically using the Jewish people and the state of Israel as a shield to double down on his remarks.”
“Politicizing the widespread, bipartisan support for Israel and throwing around accusations of antisemitism is damaging to the security of Israel and the Jewish community,” he said. “Trump should lead by example, stop politicizing these issues and stop smearing members of Congress.”
Trump would be wise to heed Greenblatt’s sage advice, but he will doubtless carry on as usual, besmirching the highest office in the land.