Congresswoman Karen Bass said what needed to be said about Donald Trump’s “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came…” tweet about progressive Democratic congresswomen.
“Racists tweet racist things,” observed the California Democrat.
Bass put things in perspective with that true statement, and with her counsel that as ICE raids target immigrant communities, “What we should be focused on right now though, ESPECIALLY today, is that racists also create racist policies.”
It is appropriate to call Trump out for what Congresswoman Barbara Lee identifies as a “disgusting and racist attack.” It is appropriate to point out that the women he is attacking are Americans with roots in this country that, in some cases, go back further than those of this crudely divisive and destructive president. But it is not appropriate to be distracted by Trump. Not anymore. He has revealed himself again and again with racially incendiary statements, appointments, and policies. Now, he has gone to the next extreme. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks an essential truth when she explains that “telling four American Congresswomen of color ‘go back to your own country’ is hallmark language of white supremacists.”
So, now, the question is how to deal with Trump. And the best answer comes from one of the progressive Democratic woman he has so ardently and frequently targeted for abuse.
In tweets that were clearly intended to inflame prejudice against newly elected women of color such as Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, among others, Trump argued that “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” (Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and Tlaib were born in the United States; Omar has been a US citizen her entire adult life.)
Among the issues in the countries that the president complained about, Trump focused on “corruption.”
Yo @realDonaldTrump, I am fighting corruption in OUR country. I do it every day when I hold your admin accountable as a U.S. Congresswoman. Detroit taught me how to fight for the communities you continue to degrade & attack. Keep talking, you’ll be out of the WH soon. #TickTock
Specifically, Tlaib wrote:
Want a response to a lawless & complete failure of a President?
He is the crisis.
His dangerous ideology is the crisis.
He needs to be impeached.
That’s right. Trump does need to be impeached. The reasons for impeaching him are many. He has repeatedly, and egregiously, abused the powers associated with his position. And the worst of these abuses have been his deliberate efforts to divide the country against itself.
Trump’s go-back-where-you-came-from racism is not just antithetical to the values of a nation of immigrants. It represents a rejection of his sworn oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.“
That Constitution begins with a preamble explaining that “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Trump’s presidency has been a 30-month assault on domestic tranquility that has rejected the common good in favor of divisive political strategies that seek to turn Americans against one another. The articles of impeachment against the 17th president of the United States took him to task for “intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues” against members of Congress.
Andrew Johnson, perhaps the most vile man ever to occupy the White House (though, admittedly, it’s an open competition), was impeached by the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the Senate narrowly refused to remove him from office.
There is no question that Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Nor is there any question that, as Rashida Tlaib reminds us, presidential racism is an appropriate place of beginning for the accountability moment that this country so desperately requires.