Trump tweet row: Don’t take the bait, congresswomen say

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Trump tweet row: Don't take the bait, congresswomen say

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Image caption Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded to the attacks at a press conference on Monday

The four US congresswomen attacked by US President Donald Trump in a series of racially charged tweets have dismissed his remarks as a distraction.

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib urged the US people "not to take the bait" at a Monday press conference.

Mr Trump suggested the four women – all US citizens – "can leave".

He has defended his comments and denied allegations of racism.

Addressing reporters, the four women – known as The Squad – all said the focus should be on policy and not the president's words.

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Media captionIlhan Omar responds to President Trump's racially charged tweets in a press conference

"This is simply a disruption and a distraction from the callous chaos and corrupt culture of this administration, all the way down," Ms Pressley said.

Both Ms Omar and Ms Tlaib also called for Mr Trump to be impeached.

Their response comes after Mr Trump launched a Twitter tirade on Sunday, telling the four women – three of whom were born in the US and one, Ms Omar, who was born in Somalia – to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came".

He redoubled these attacks on Monday. "If you are not happy, if you are complaining all the time, you can leave," he told a heated news conference outside the White House.

The remarks have been widely condemned as racist and xenophobic.

Trump keeps pushing racial boundaries

Analysis by Gary O'Donoghue, BBC Washington Correspondent

Telling people of colour to go back to where they came from cannot be regarded as anything other than a blatant evocation of a well-worn trope of racist language and sentiment that's as old as the hills.

But usually politicians who want to play the race card reach for the "dog whistle" – a political nudge and a wink that tells their supporters that they share their views that cannot easily be voiced in a liberal democracy without alienating people whose support they will need.

President Trump, however, has pushed the boundaries on racially charged language ever since he became a candidate.

Remember how Mexicans were Rapists and Drug dealers, how there were "good people" on both sides of the argument when white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, and how the President didn't see why America should allow more people in from "shithole" countries in Africa.

So what is his strategy? Keeping his core support fired up is unquestionably part of it. And exploiting divisions within Democratic ranks which have had racial overtones in recent days is another reason for his actions.

But in many ways, we should not be surprised by this President ratcheting up the political heat in this particular way.

After all, it's a short intellectual step from the economic nationalism encapsulated in the idea of America First, to a more thorough-going nationalism that sees a threat from the enemy within.

Follow Gary O'Donoghue on Twitter

Original Article

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