Republicans have a constitutional duty to condemn Trump’s racist attacks

From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., respond to remarks by President Donald Trump after his call for the four Democratic congresswomen to go back to their "broken" countries, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, July 15, 2019. All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the U.S. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The president of the United States issued a series of racist tweets this week telling some members of Congress to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Though he did not name them at first, his tweets appear to have been directed at four Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

No one seems to be surprised by yet another diatribe from Mr. Trump. The nation has, tragically, grown accustomed to such language from its commander in chief, from claiming he could shoot someone in Times Square and not lose political support to calling Kim Jong-un “Little Rocket Man” and deploring refugees from “shithole countries.”

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Mr. Trump’s tweets have been, unquestionably, a distraction from the critical business of the country: Congress must soon raise the debt ceiling again to prevent the government from running out of cash; the Trump administration has once again taken steps to make it more difficult for asylum seekers to find safety in the United States; there are children still being detained at the border after being separated from their parents.

Behind Mr. Trump’s tweets is an attempt not only to delegitimize his political opponents but to appeal to nativist tendencies, suggesting that citizens born in other countries or born to immigrant parents are somehow less American than others. That is antithetical to the values of this country, for which generations of immigrant Americans have sacrificed to the point of shedding their blood on foreign shores.

Some have pointed out that, true to form, Mr. Trump has his facts wrong. Three of the four congresswomen were born in the United States. But Mr. Trump’s remarks would have been reprehensible even if they all had been born in Canada or Haiti, Somalia or China. To echo what Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said at a press conference addressing the president’s remarks on Monday: “No matter what the president says, this country belongs to you, and it belongs to everyone.”

These comments need to be called out as racist, xenophobic and sexist. They are wrong, full stop. The president’s lack of restraint has perhaps briefly unified Democrats in outrage, but they seem to have had little impact on Republicans. Only a small number of G.O.P. members of Congress have criticized the president’s tweets or even indicated that they are disturbed by them.

While we may have come to expect this sort of behavior from the president, it should not be treated as normal. Especially if they ally themselves with Mr. Trump’s public policy goals, members of Congress have a moral obligation and constitutional duty to denounce such remarks and to defend their colleagues against such attacks. Public debate and public decency require minimum standards. The United States Constitution and its separation of powers presumes those standards. Our national leaders should not stand by in silence while the voices of the elected representatives of the people are delegimitized by the head of the executive branch. What is left of the parameters of civil discourse in the United States must be defended.

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Kevin Murphy
1 year 2 months ago

Nothing about "the Squad's" anti- semitism and accusations of racism, homophobia etc. against anyone who doesn't agree with them? They won't even condemn Antifa, Al Qaada or violence against law enforcement. America, as well as the Left, is OK with smears as long as it is done by their side. America and it's fanbase are enormous hypocrites.

rose-ellen caminer
1 year 2 months ago

You are the anti Semite; against[Semitic] Muslims who you smear are terrorists and Jew haters unless and until they parrot what you want them to say about Alquada [mea culpa, mea culpa] and show undue loyalty to AIPAC/ Israel .They owe you no such jumping through the hoops of your bigotry, denouncement, apology, and support. They are not on trial as terrorists except in your own mind.They are not here to appease your fear and loathing of them.

L Hoover
1 year 2 months ago

BRAVO, rose-ellen!

frank troia
1 year 2 months ago

These last couple of years have served as a real history lesson for me.
I now understand how Hitler came to power. There are too many complacent people in this nation. We sit and watch this freak show happen and readily assume that Fascist fanaticism can't drive a wedge through America. Trump survives by exploiting class and racial divisions. This is not leadership, it is lunacy.

Jay Zamberlin
1 year 2 months ago

Does the article title really read "constitutional duty?" America has become a joke. Even if one would suggest that Trump was completely wrong, or egregiously this or that (the other suggestion of racism is a farce as well) - wrong, but even if this was the indesputable truth, how the hell does one go from one to the other? (Constitutional duty). Just more mindless and intellectually lazy and/or blatently dishonest twaddle. And pulled out of the editors' collective southernmost orifice. Disgustingly insulting to anyone with a scintilla of appreciation for the truth, employment of language, what the Constitution says and doesn't say. Breathtakingly imbecilic and not worthy of a good comic book read, much less some sort of "Catholic" magazine of any seriousness. Please, stop, just STOP!! BASTA!

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Jay, help me understand the Constitution on this context? Why there is no Constitutional duty here?

JR Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago

Because the constitution says nothing about it. The real question is why there would be a constitutional duty. The editors have no rationale for the headline. The racism charges are all bogus too.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

J, that is your question. I asked a different question. Funny, how that happens. Two people, two questions.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago

No, same question.

G Reeder-Ferreira
1 year 2 months ago

The 14th amendment of the constitution protects the citizenship and privileges of persons of color. The federal actors during the time knew people who (such as yourselves) regarded people as inferior may raise up out of jealousy and dislike, and try to enact State laws allowing for a license to discriminate and not allow them to enjoy all the same civil rights as white people enjoyed. It is every elected official's constitutional duty to stand up against racism and any racial epithet of a standing president. That's what the legislative body is supposed to do.

FRAN ABBOTT
1 year 2 months ago

AGREE!!!! Well said!

Opting Out
1 year 2 months ago

Obama showed true hatred for Americans when he portrayed them in such unflattering terms but the Left quote him today as their Oracle. No wonder they loathe Trump and his followers: they hold a different opinion. So much for diversity of thought and choice. Hypocrites by no other name

They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment, as a way to explain their frustrations."
- Barack Obama

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Obama made that statement EXACTLY once, Jose. You say you are a doctor: if so, you know the difference between an acute illness and episodes in which a person's chronic disease is symptomatic. Obama's statement was acutely reprehensible. Trump's statement is the most recent and seriously symptomatic episode of a chronic disease.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

The federal agency, the EEOC, explicitly states that the phrase "go back where you came from" is workplace harassment and discrimination and is a violation of the American worker's right to legal protection from racial harassment and racial discrimination on the job. Trump is harassing them on the job and using his Presidential twitter account to do it.

Alan Johnstone
1 year 2 months ago

In case some readers did not notice, the authors used the critical and condemnatory word racist. The actual content of the tweets did not stand up to their judgemental and critical description of them. Just jumped on the bandwagon.

American Catholics might like to think on this - you call each other and yourselves Asian-American and Afro-American and Irish-American all the time when issues of identity and origin and cultural issues are involved.

Nobody here in Australia does it, and we are populated by people from the four corners of the globe and whether born here or migrated here, accept that their ethnic heritage is part of their identity and upbringing and sometimes causes conflict.
From Poland we have Poles and Jews, from the former Yugoslavia we have Croats and Bosnians and Serbs. Not always happy in one another's company.

New-speak and double-think is spreading and it is being swallowed as progressive and virtuous while gathering strength and acceptability as it deflects hard dialogues into name calling.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Alan, for the sake of dialogue, I will accept on faith your assertion that Australia does not have historical or current problems with systemic and cultural racism. How might that fact impact your ability to understand racism as a dynamic in the US, which has a well-established history of systemic and cultural racism?

Alan Johnstone
1 year 2 months ago

Polish Jews were persecuted by Slavic Poles. The feelings still run deep in those who live in Australia.
Bosnians and Serbs hate each other with passion and if sporting teams composed of them meet on playing fields. blood is sometimes spilled. Irish still hate the English, the conflict is still alive in Northern Ireland.

How can you possibly misread comments so wrongly?

I was pointing out the utter hypocrisy of a society which freely identifies itself by ethnic and cultural origin words and then pretends that ethnicity and culture MUST play no part in normal social discourse and interaction.

The whole world, for all of history, has operated with partiality to their tribe and hostility to the stranger.
There has always been the battle of the sexes. People all over the world, regardless of power, wealth, age, education or ethnicity are the same.

It does NOT arise from culture and salvation does not come about by cultural change - that is Marxist pure and simple.

Christianity enjoins us to behave differently from what seems to us natural.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Thanks for the clarification; you are correct that is not understand your comment about Australia. The United States does not "pretend ethnicity and culture must play no part in normal social discourse and interaction". US law insists that persons may not been discriminated against because of, as you term it "ethnicity and culture" while our law defines it by a series of protected classes (https://www.archives.gov/eeo/terminology.html). The American ideal and values do not include tolerance of racism, which Trump and his enablers
very well understand and that is why they are backpedalling as fast as they can to convince his supporters and detractors alike that he didn't say what he said. Racism is NOT accepted here so, when a person wants to engage in racism, s/he needs to call it something else and convince everyone else to call it something other than racism. Which is what Trump and his Catholic inner circle of enablers and his enabling voters are all engaged in.

American laws and culture absolutely acknoeledge that ethnic and cultural differences to play a part in normal discourse and interaction and all that comes with that. It is discrimination based on those identifiers that is sanctioned legally and socially and politically and economically. It would seem you misunderstand US culture and law, Alan. The idea that a society that is NOT racist and sexist does not "see" race or gender is a fallacy; that society sees race and gender and does not discriminate on the basis of race and gender. US law and culture sees race and gender but, in the ideal, does not discriminate on the basis of race and gender.

Again, Trump knows it and that is why he is trying to convince us he didn't say and didn't mean what he said.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Thanks for the clarification; you are correct that is not understand your comment about Australia.

The United States does not "pretend ethnicity and culture must play no part in normal social discourse and interaction". US law insists that persons may not been discriminated against because of, as you term it "ethnicity and culture" while our law defines it by a series of protected classes (https://www.archives.gov/eeo/terminology.html). The American ideal and values do not include tolerance of racism, which Trump and his enablers
very well understand and that is why they are backpedalling as fast as they can to convince his supporters and detractors alike that he didn't say what he said. Racism is NOT accepted here so, when a person wants to engage in racism, s/he needs to call it something else and convince everyone else to call it something other than racism. Which is what Trump and his Catholic inner circle of enablers and his enabling voters are all engaged in.

American laws and culture absolutely acknoeledge that ethnic and cultural differences to play a part in normal discourse and interaction and all that comes with that. It is discrimination based on those identifiers that is sanctioned legally and socially and politically and economically. It would seem you misunderstand US culture and law, Alan. The idea that a society that is NOT racist and sexist does not "see" race or gender is a fallacy; that society sees race and gender and does not discriminate on the basis of race and gender. US law and culture sees race and gender but, in the ideal, does not discriminate on the basis of race and gender.

Again, Trump knows it and that is why he is trying to convince us he didn't say and didn't mean what he said.

Vincent Gaglione
1 year 2 months ago

Thank you for an "on-target" editorial.

Roland Greystoke
1 year 2 months ago

It was the content of their character, of lack thereof, that he called into question. Donald Trump has received numerous accolades for his work in helping minorities (1999 Rainbow Push conference, for example). Now that he's President under the GOP banner (remember how a LOT of the career GOP pols attacked when he was running for the nomination?) he is suddenly a racist? He was smart enough to fool minorities for all those decades? And he had to run as a GOPer because, in this country, we have become two-party slaves. The best person for the job shouldn't need to belong to any one race, religion, gender or political party. But changing the we-must-vote-DNC-or-GOP mindlessness of the population is impossible. And it's sad we've become like this. BTW, I wrote in General James Mattis for President in 2016. When people say that I wasted my vote, I remind them that I was an NCO on active duty for 20 years and then quote a line from Slaughterhouse-Five by the character Paul Lazzaro....it has the phrase "rolling doughnut" in it.

J Jones
1 year 1 month ago

Roland, you are writing a revisionist history. Google "Trump racism hstory". You will find a few lists here -
VOX, July 15, 2019
NYTIMES Jan 14, 2018
Fortune, June 7, 2016
Huffpost, Jan 12, 2018
The Atlantic, June 2019
WashPost Aug 16, 2017

PS he did not get an award from Rainbow Push. He was thanked for giving them an office and that means he gave himself a tax write off

No, I don't think Trump was smart enough to fool any minoritie

John Barbieri
1 year 2 months ago

Hmm:
I am discerning!
You are discriminating!
He, She, It is bigoted!

John Barbieri
1 year 2 months ago

Hmm:
I am discerning!
You are discriminating!
He, She, It is bigoted!

John Barbieri
1 year 2 months ago

Hmm:
I am discerning!
You are discriminating!
He, She, It is bigoted!

John Rysavy
1 year 2 months ago

The congressional districts that elected these 4 socialists are broken and largely in disrepair due to the liberal progressive local leadership which Trump was likely referring to. America is getting pretty judgmental in choosing political sides where those 4 socialists have said vile things about him and country as well.

Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 2 months ago

“The congressional districts that elected these 4 socialists are broken and largely in disrepair...”

A look at the senate majority leader’s state might reveal congressional districts in good repair.

Instead, an oligarchy parasite feeding off Mitch McConnell’s districts has shortened life expectancy by nearly 4 years vs. life expectancy in the districts of the 4 socialists.

What voters saw in 4 socialists perhaps has national merit.

Ysais Martinez
1 year 2 months ago

I am having a hard time understanding what was racist about what the president said. In fact, the freak show of press conference the four congresswomen staged was a God-given political gift to the president and his 2020 reelection bid. Only editorial board white liberals sitting in their comfortable offices in Manhattan, LA, Boston, Chicago, etc have been so triggered by the president strong but truthful statements. Talk about disconnect from the general public who doesn't have a Twitter account. Only the mob in that truly despicable, rotten application Twitter is still talking about this. We all moved on to work, pray, change diapers, and take the garbage out to the curb.

John McCauley
1 year 2 months ago

Lol. Right on Ysais! Once again "The Editors" hide behind their obscure title and continue and contribute to same pattern overtaking all our discourse....claiming their authority to pronounce rushed judgements, calling out others "sins", airing and elevating political grievances and largely avoiding and ignoring the deeper responsibility to encourage less inflamed rhetoric, reminding both sides responsibility to lead and be accountable for achieving real results. It is hardly clear whether in fact the President is everything you condemn him to be and you have contributed nothing to elevate and champion this present discourse by providing vision guided by Christ's love, genius and shrewdness. All you have achieved in this infantile editorial is merely pouring more gasoline on accusations and dubious claims of victimization. Is that ultimately what you consider as a "job well done"? I expected more. So I am with Ysais and will return to life one that imperfectly is one of helping, encouraging and supporting all I encounter whatever race or color to try to try to bring help and love not thru words but actions. Would be nice to see the call of "The Editors" to do the same and illuminate what love would do in this moment.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

In the 21st century, no one told or tells this white citizen and descendant of white immigrants who criticizes the US to "go back where you came from". People routinely tell people of color who are citizens are descendants of non-white immigrants to "go back to where they came from". The white descendant of white immigrants who is President told these Congresswomen who non-white descendants of non-white immigrants to "go back where they come from". THAT is a textbook example of white privilege and racism.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago

textbook exmample of white privilege and racism.

And that is nonsense.

Alan Johnstone
1 year 2 months ago

J Jones
I assume you know NO Amerindians.
Try reading "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee", an old classic.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Alan, non sequiturs are rarely an effective strategy when any kind of meaningful dialogue is intended. I leave you to it. Peace.

Stanley Kopacz
1 year 2 months ago

What can you expect from the spineless Republican politicians? They all rolled over like puppies for Trump as alpha dog. For a while, Cruz seemed to evidence some vertebral fortitude after the Orange Poltroon disparaged the looks of Cruz' wife (who is actually a very good looking woman) and tied Cruz' father in with Kennedy's assassination. But then, even he swallowed his manliness and professed fealty to the Idiot. If Cruz had walked up to the Orange Teletubbie and punched him in the gut, Cruz would be President today.

Michael Gerrity
1 year 2 months ago

Thanks for this issue. The president is certainly a racist. This needs to be said out loud now. It was clear from his "they are rapists" comment way back when this nightmare started. It was clear from his "there are good people on both sides" Charlottesville comments. Bravo to the Jesuits. Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country. BTW - great photo! I have made it my desk top. And shame on all you people who tie yourselves in knots trying to defend the indefensible.

Adeolu Ademoyo
1 year 2 months ago

I am still wondering why and how a Christian-Catholic, non-Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant etc, -can reconcile Christianity with Trumpism when Mr. Donald J Trump-the chief ideologue of Trumpism and his foot soldiers and “disciples” espouse racism, bigotry, xenophobia so blatantly and so un-repentantly? If prayer is at the core of your life as a Christian and you for example truly and genuinely pray the Divine Office -The School of Our Lord’s Service-everyday, (five times a day) how can you be a racist, a bigot, how can you blatantly espouse racism, how can you reconcile what you pray daily with what you practice i.e. racism, bigotry and xenophobia, how can you reconcile Christianity with racism as (Trumpists and proselytizers of Trumpism do so blatantly, crudely and arrogantly in the public sphere) and be at peace with your conscience, yourself, your faith and with our Lord Jesus Christ? How?

Do racists who claim to be “Christians” pray at all? If so who do they pray to? God? Same Christian God who we all pray to? If racists pray, and prayer is good, and desirable, will the racists also pray for example for more racism in the United States and in the world? I am just wondering loud about racists and people who espouse racism, and who also claim to be “Christians.” I am just wondering at what they “pray” and what they practice.

J Jones
1 year 2 months ago

Great questions.

Crystal Watson
1 year 2 months ago

I think the answer is that people of the Religious Right *never* believed in gospel values. It was a pretense, a way to use high moral ground to try to get what they wanted. But now under Trump, they no longer have to pretend - they are in power and can finally be honest about their real goals ... more for themselves at the expense of others.

Douglas Fang
1 year 2 months ago

Crystal - I totally complete with your statement here! There is nothing Christian about the Religious Right.

Andrew Strada
1 year 2 months ago

They are so judgmental, aren't they? And as we all know, that's a bad thing.

Christopher Scott
1 year 2 months ago

Americans have a moral obligation to be grateful ... that is the point Trump is trying to make (albeit clumsy)

Crystal Watson
1 year 2 months ago

As usual, Trump is conflating himself with America. This isn't about hating America, it's about hating what Trump and his Republican suck-ups are doing to our country.

rose-ellen caminer
1 year 2 months ago

Politicians are not there to be grateful [except on some nationaistic holiday]they are there to address what needs to be done to make for a better more just country for americans, and to when possible have an influence for the betterment of the world .
trump telling politicians to be grateful after they express anti status quo beliefs, politicians who are from ethncities countries s, religions , the right wing americans have been attacking for years, as , evil, unasimable, shit hole countries,etc., is PURE racism.Your obligation is to be a grateful "house Negro". How dare you [inferior]ethnics get uppity!

Mike Macrie
1 year 2 months ago

I totally agree with the Editorial, Trump has divided this Nation on Race and Propaganda. To deny his comments are not Racist is lunacy. So now when Trump leaves office the new Republican Standard for Candidates will be on Race and White Nationalism. This is now the new standard for Republicans to hold their Base together.

From reading the comments above, the Catholic Bishops have their work cut out for them to bring their own Parishioners together on Racism.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago

But there is relatively little racism in the US.

Mike Macrie
1 year 2 months ago

I agree KKK Racist Groups and White Nationalist groups are small and Segregation in the South is gone, but what we have is Subtle Racism. “ Subtle racism, also known as, covert racism is described as a person who has implicit racial or other negative attitudes towards another group. Subtle racism is an ambiguous form of racial discrimination. It is defined as ambiguous because the perpetrator’s actions are very indirect and are often expressed through innuendo’s. While subtle racism can be attributed to many factors other than racist beliefs, racism is the underlying subconscious influence on the perpetrator’s behavior “. This type of Racism is there in both Whites and Blacks. It’s this Subtle Racism that our President stokes the Fire with in people for his own personal gain. Our Country was doing so good in Race Relations prior to Trump. Securing the Border is a fair goal by the President but it’s how he goes about in demonizing people to accomplish it.

JR Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago

So essentially there’s almost no racism/racial discrimination in America but plenty of racist thoughts that don’t get expressed in any actions. And you don’t like Trump’s bedside manor. Also what evidence is there that race relations have got worse under Trump. Not opinions but actual actions.

Mike Macrie
1 year 2 months ago

Send her back ! Send her back ! send Her Back !

JR Cosgrove
1 year 2 months ago

Why didn’t you complete the sentence?

You just supported my point of view that there is hardly any racism in the United States. Thank you.

Now answer the question: if there is little racism, why so many articles on racism?

Mike Macrie
1 year 2 months ago

I told you before but your not listening, it’s his Subtle Racism that brings out the worst in people. “Send her back” chant is the Subtle Racism that Trump feeds his Base to get Votes. But what I really come to believe is that Trump is not a Racist but a sick Sociopath. He’s not Pro Life or a Racist, He’s something more Sinister. He uses people for his own personal gain while keeping his hands clean. Whether it be Michael Cohen, Don McGahn, Jeff Sessions, James Comey, he will use them or try to use them not to dirty his hands. Trump displays all the Characteristics of a Sociopath:
* Manipulative and Conning. They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. ...
* Grandiose Sense of Self. ...
* Pathological Lying. ...
* Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt. ...
* Shallow Emotions. ...
* Incapacity for Love.
* Need for Stimulation.

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