Donald Trump vigorously defended on Tuesday any racism, but his violent tweets aimed at four minority Democratic candidates have caused unease among many elected Republicans, party whose leaders remain silent for the time being.
“These tweets were NOT racist, there is not an ounce of racism in me!”, The US president urged, calling on his party’s elected officials not to fall into the “trap” he felt Democratic opponents.
A motion condemning the presidential speech had to be submitted, at the initiative of the Democrats, to a vote in the House of Representatives.
The president’s tweets were addressed to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).
True to his strategy of fueling the controversies he himself created, the Republican billionaire took care to repeat, in an early tweet, his message the day before the address of the four elected Democrats: “Our country is free, beautiful and prosperous, if you hate our country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave! ”
With the approach of the presidential election of November 2020, he seems more determined than ever to galvanize his electoral base – overwhelmingly white – and to do everything possible to fuel divisions among his political opponents.
Trump, who meets in the middle of the afternoon at the White House Republican leaders of Congress, should be able to count on their support, at least tacit.
Because if here and there, elected representatives of the “Grand Old Party” have denounced the presidential tweets, they are on the whole very cautious in their criticisms towards the one who will be – except huge surprise – their candidate in 2020.
Republican Senator Rob Portman ruled the president’s words “moved”. “All these women are American citizens like you and me,” he told CNN.
But Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, has not yet said a word about the controversy.
– Silence “inexcusable” –
After advising the four elected on Sunday, dubbed “The Squad”, to “return” to “these totally failed and crime-ridden places,” Trump intensified his attacks on Monday, accusing them of “hate” America.
The four women shot back together Monday night, displaying their determination not to give in to attacks from the White House.
Donald Trump “does not know how to defend his policy, so he attacks us personally,” said Rashida Tlaib. Her attacks “are a continuation of her racist and xenophobic stance,” she added.
For former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, who has had many bickering with the White House tenant, the silence of his party can not, in such a case, be justified.
“I have often said that Republican politicians can not be expected to answer all the presidential statements, but there are times when they are so ignoble and insulting that it is up to them to condemn them.” he tweeted.
Chuck Schumer, leader of the Democratic Senators, has once again deplored the silence in the ranks of the presidential party.
“It’s frightening to see how many of my Republican colleagues have just let the storm pass without saying a word,” he said. And to wonder if this silence reflects an “agreement” with the president or “embarrassment” in front of his remarks. “In both, it’s inexcusable,” he says.
For Joe Biden, vice president under Barack Obama and Democratic nomination candidate for 2020, no president in American history “has been as overtly racist as this man”.