Her violent tweets against minority women elites provoked outrageous reactions even in her own camp. The US president persisted Monday.
With the approach of the presidential election of November 2020, Donald Trump seems determined to play racial tensions in order to galvanize his electoral base – mostly white – but also to sow division among his political opponents.
This weekend, the American president had advised four elected Democrats to “return” to their country of origin, while three of them were born in the United States. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) responded strongly Monday at a joint press conference.
“We will not be silenced,” said black elite Ayanna Pressley, calling on Americans not to “bite the hook.” According to her, this outbidding aims first of all to divert attention from the problems affecting the population.
The same day, Donald Trump intensified his attacks, accusing the four elected to “hate” America. “If you’re not happy here, you can go! He said from the White House gardens. “Do you mind that many people find your racist tweets? He asked a reporter. “It does not bother me because many people agree with me,” he said.
First to react in the Republican ranks, the senator of the Maine Susan Collins called him to return on his remarks. “The president’s tweet, in which he said congressional women should go back + where they came from, was totally out of place and should be removed,” she said.
Following suit, South Carolina’s Republican black senator Tim Scott denounced remarks with “racist connotations … unacceptable”. Ohio MP Mike Turner called on the president to “apologize” for these “racist” tweets. Mitt Romney, a former “Grand Old Party” candidate for the White House, called the president’s remarks “destructive and degrading.”
- The indignation of Theresa May and Jacinda Ardern
In the Democratic camp, the presidential messages have provoked an avalanche of outraged reactions. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, denounced “xenophobic” comments and called on elected officials to support a motion in the House explicitly condemning them. Democratic MP Al Green of Texas, for his part said he would propose a vote for a procedure of impeachment “for bigotry in politics […] harmful to our society.”
For Joe Biden, vice president of Barack Obama for eight years and candidate for the Democratic nomination for 2020, no president in American history “was as openly racist as this man”. “Go back to your country? It’s disgusting “.
Abroad, the outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May has judged the president of the world’s leading power “totally unacceptable”. The New Zealand Prime Minister joined the condemnation concert on Tuesday. “It’s obvious to many people that I completely and totally disagree” with Donald Trump, said Jacinda Ardern.
- “A cold and cynical calculation”
The political strategy of the tenant of the White House is clear: to push corners in the democratic family, crossed by tensions. The US president is knowingly targeting four congressional youth on the left wing of the party whose disagreements with Nancy Pelosi regularly feed the Washington column.
“With this deliberately racist exit, Donald Trump seeks to make the targeted people more visible, to push the Democrats to defend them and make them emblems of the entire party,” said David Axelrod, former close adviser to Barack Obama. “It’s a cold and cynical calculation.”
A few hours later, Donald Trump validated this analysis point by point by explaining on Twitter that the Democrats had tried to distance themselves from the four elected, but were “now forced to defend them”. “It means they support socialism, hatred of Israel and the United States! He concludes.
The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four “progressives,” but now they are forced to embrace them. That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019