Donald Trump’s twitter attack on four Democratic congresswomen of colour reached a new low and crossed a new line of blatant racism.
Referring to Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, Trump said
“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 (if they even have a functioning government at all), 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.
“Why don’t they 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.
“These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
Telling people of colour to ‘go home’ is, of course, an extremely familiar racist taunt. But the openn and explicit racism in this statement is evident in the fact that all the Representatives concerned are US Citizens and three were born in the United States.
Take the case of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. AOC as she is known was born in the Bronx – not far from where Trump was born – to a father who was also born in the Bronx and a mother who was of Puerto Rican origin. But Puerto Rico is part of the United States and Puerto Ricans have been US Citizens since 1917 with freedom of movement between the island and the mainland. In other words the ONLY basis for suggesting she ‘go home’ is the colour of her skin and what Trump is advancing here is the white supremacist and white nationalist vision of a white only America.
Also especially vicious is his assertion that people of colour have no right to ‘complain’ or criticise. He says they are ‘telling the people of the United States… how our government is to be run’. But these Representatives are part of ‘the people of the United States’ and have been elected by ‘the people of the United States’ and according to Trump they are not allowed to criticise him by virtue of the ethnicity of their parents and grandparents i.e. the colour of their skin. You can imagine how he would have responded to the ‘uppity’ Martin Luther King who he would doubtless have told to ‘go back to the plantation’.
The reference to Nancy Pelosi ‘making free travel arrangements’ is a very thinly veiled evocation of the policy of so-called ‘voluntary’ repatriation advocated in the past by the Nazi National Front and BNP.
The shocking extremism of Trump’s comments can be judged by the fact that even Mitt Romney, Theresa May and Boris Johnson (!) and Jeremy Hunt felt obliged to condemn them [though they each stopped diplomatically short of actually naming them as racist].
However, it is not just a matter of vile and offensive words. Trump’s racist actions are matching his racist rhetoric.
The US government is simultaneously detaining many thousands of migrants in appalling conditions in concentration camps along its southern border, continuing to separate children from their families, carrying out extensive raids across the country by the hated ICE to detain and deport people and drastically revising its asylum laws, contrary to international law in order to deny huge numbers of refugees the right even to apply for asylum.
These are the words and deeds of the vile racist welcomed by ‘liberal’ Leo Varadkar in Shannon.
Fortunately there is also growing resistance to Trump and his politics of hate within America itself.