US President Donald Trump on Tuesday shrugged off a rebuke by the US House of Representatives, which condemned remarks he made about four congresswomen of color as racist, and claimed the lawmakers have themselves said worse things about the US and Israel.
The resolution scolded Trump for his recent attacks on Democratic lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Trump had tweeted Sunday that the four Democratic freshmen should “go back” to their home countries — though all are citizens and three were born in the US.
The four-page Democratic resolution said the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” It said Trump’s slights “do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”
“If you really want to see statements, look at the horrible things they said about our Country, Israel, and much more,” Trump tweeted after the House vote. “They are now the top, most visible members of the House Democrats, who are now wedded to this bitterness and hate.”
On Monday Trump had also pointed to the congresswomen’s views on Israel, as he was beating back criticism of his tweets the day before, in which he said the lawmakers — whom he did not name at that stage — came from corrupt, poorly managed countries to which they should return.
“So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion,” Trump tweeted at the time.
He then called on the “Radical Left Congresswomen” to “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.”
Tlaib and Omar are fierce critics of Israel and have voiced support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Jewish state. Ocasio-Cortez has also criticized Israel on multiple occasions. Pressley, on the other hand, has said she opposes BDS and supports the two-state solution.
Omar specifically came under fire earlier this year for some comments about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that some took to be anti-Semitic. Tlaib took heat as well for comments on Israel’s founding after the Holocaust, which some saw as revisionist.
US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks as, from left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., listen during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, July 15, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
While the congresswomen have been much more critical of Israel than traditional Democrats, US Jewish groups said Trump’s insertion of Israel into the melee was a bald attempt to use the issue as a wedge to bolster opposition to the foursome.
The Anti-Defamation League, which has been sharply critical of the congresswomen’s posture toward Israel, condemned the president on the grounds that his remarks were racist and risked damaging bipartisan support for the Jewish state.
“As Jews, we are all too familiar with this kind of divisive prejudice,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the group’s CEO, said earlier Tuesday before the House vote. “While ADL has publicly disagreed with these congresswomen on some issues, the president is echoing the racist talking points of white nationalists and cynically using the Jewish people and the state of Israel as a shield to double down on his remarks.”
Other organizations also spoke out against Trump’s comments, among them the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the American Jewish Committee.