Donald Trump on Sunday morning took to Twitter to denounce what he called "'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen" — an apparent reference to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other first-year representatives — in statements that were immediately labeled "racist" even by normally staid news outlets such as CNN.
"Trump tweets racist attacks at progressive Democratic congresswomen," a CNN.com headline declared on Sunday, reporting on Trump's tweets, with the report going on to state that Trump in his tweets was "falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens."
Trump also told the women to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," on his Twitter account.
Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City, in the borough of the Bronx. Of the other three women to whom Trump appeared to be referring, only Minnesota rep Ilhan Omar was board abroad, emigrating from Somalia to the United States at the age of 10, in 1992. Two of the other first-year reps, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, were born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan, respectively, according to The Washington Post.
But another immigrant member of Congress, Ted Lieu of California who was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1969, according to Congress.gov, not only responded to Trump on Twitter, he also appeared Sunday morning on the MSNBC cable news network, where he said that Trump's comments about the four first-year reps revealed Trump as a "racist a**." Watch Lieu make his remarks in the video below.Writing on his own Twitter feed Sunday, Lieu said that he had received a text message from his mother after Trump posted his remarks, telling her son, "we are not going back anywhere, because America is our country."
"I never thought I'd see the day when a president was telling immigrants to go back to where they came from," Lieu said in the MSNBC interview, as quoted by Raw Story. "He's demonstrating he's a racist a**. He's not uniting us."
Lieu also said that Trump "doesn't understand most Americans are immigrants or have family members who are immigrants."
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on her own Twitter feed, said that Trump's remarks about the four members of Congress prove that Trump's "plan to 'Make America Great Again' has always been about making America white again."
Pelosi's comments appeared to echo those made in a column published by The New York Times last year, by Times writer Charles Blow. In the column, Blow said that Trump's rhetoric and policies were based on "White extinction anxiety," and that Trump remains permanently popular with his base voters because "he is unapologetically defending whiteness from anything that threatens it."