"[Trump] telling elected politicians - or any other Americans for that matter - to ‘go back’ to other countries is not OK, and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly."
- US president’s Twitter tirade takes aim at several vocal critics of his immigration policies, accusing them of coming from countries “whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe”
- US authorities launch series of raids across at least 10 major US cities, intending to arrest of 2,000 undocumented immigrants
- First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and UK Prime Minister Theresa May condemn Trump’s comments, but Tory frontrunners Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson remain silent
FIRST MINISTER Nicola Sturgeon has condemned US President Donald Trump’s racist demand that several high-profile Democratic congresswomen “go back” to where they came from.
Amidst a further nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration by the Trump administration and discord within the Democratic Party, Trump yesterday [14 July] elicited further accusations of racism in a Twitter screed widely interpreted as attacking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashina Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Collectively known as ‘the Squad’, the congresswomen are generally associated with the left wing of the Democratic Party, and their strong criticism of the US Government’s current anti-immigrant policies have put them at odds with both the Trump administration and more moderate Democrats.
Trump wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Trump continued: “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!”
Despite Trump’s characterisation of the congresswomen, three of them were born in the United States, while Omar, a Somalian refugee, moved to the United States in the early 1990s and has been a US citizen since 2000, when she turned 17 years old.
Trump’s online tirade followed the launch of several operations across the United States on the evening of 13 July to arrest undocumented immigrants. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents reportedly began raids in at least 10 major cities over the weekend in an attempt to arrest over 2,000 recent immigrants to the US.
Trump later tweeted further attacks upon the Squad, writing on Sunday evening: "When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!"
Trump’s comments virtually united congressional Democrats in condemnation, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was forced into the awkward position of defending the congresswomen, shortly after criticising several of them for widening rifts in the party and leading Ocasio-Cortez to accuse Pelosi of “singling out” newly elected women of colour.
Responding earlier today on Twitter, the Scottish first minister said that the US president’s remarks were “not okay”, writing: "The President of the United States telling elected politicians - or any other Americans for that matter - to ‘go back’ to other countries is not OK, and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly."
The US president’s comments have also attracted criticism from outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, whose spokesperson told press today that the language used to refer to the congresswomen was “completely unacceptable.”
However, the two frontrunners to replace May in the ongoing Conservative leadership race, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson, have both remained silent on the issue, despite being called upon to condemn Trump’s remarks by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.
Prior to the international controversy breaking out, Johnson’s team briefed press that one of the former foreign secretary’s first acts as prime minister would be a trip to Washington DC in an attempt to outline a US-UK free trade deal with the president.
Picture courtesy of Gage Skidmore