Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib have been making national headlines since they were inaugurated earlier this year, and President Donald Trump has not been shy about his disdain for the freshman congresswomen.
Trump tweeted Sunday that the group of progressive congresswomen came from “countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”
In subsequent tweets, he encouraged them to “go back go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”
The president saw immediate backlash from Democratic leaders, resulting in a House resolution to condemn his tweets as “racist comments that have legitimized increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” The resolution passed largely along party lines — four Republicans voted in favor of condemnation, as did the House’s only independent representative.
In the days since, Trump has rejected the label of “racist” and continued accusing the four congresswomen of hating America. At a rally on Wednesday, he was met with chants of “send her back,” which the president has claimed he thought he stopped by “speaking very quickly.”
Video footage of the event shows Trump pausing for roughly 13 seconds as the chanting continues and eventually fades.
All throughout history, people of color have been subjected to the racist narrative of being un-American. If they don’t look like the majority, some will say they are un-American. If they are not complacent, many will say they are un-American. If they use their free speech as granted and protected by the Constitution, they will be told to “leave.”
But where is the patriotism in leaving your community, your country behind because you don’t like what’s happening around you?
For Trump, it does not matter that all four of these women are U.S. citizens. Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib were all born in the U.S., and Omar — who came to the U.S. as a Somali refugee in 1992 — became a citizen in 2000.
It also seems not to matter that the people of New York, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota deemed these women fit for office at the ballot boxes in November. These women aren’t speaking solely on their own behalf. They ran on messages of change in 2018, and the voters sent them to Capitol Hill to make change.
Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib saw injustice in their country, and it led them to public service — to try and make the United States a better place for everyone.