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anne mikolay 2018Let’s talk about President Trump’s latest tweet.

The president is being misquoted. He did not say the Democratic congresswomen should go back to where they came from. He said the following:

“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. 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!”

Saying “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” is not the same as telling someone “go back to where you came from”.  However, the fact that Trump did not flat out tell Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) to go back to their “home” countries does not let the tweet-master off the hook. While Trump and his supporters may rely on semantics to tap dance out of this one, the tweet’s racist inference is too strong and blatantly ignorant to go unchallenged.

To address Trump’s points: Of the four targeted congresswomen, only Representative Ilhan Omar, a refugee from Somalia, was not born in the United States (though she has been a citizen longer than Melania Trump). “The Squad”, as the four congresswomen in question are known, may be loud at times, but they can hardly be called “vicious,” as Trump stated. And despite Trump’s protest, keeping an eye on the government, monitoring checks and balances, making policy, and representing the people is the job of Congress. Lastly, interjecting sarcasm disguised as humor (“free travel arrangements!”) reveals a condescending, cavalier attitude. Clearly, the targeted, young Democrats mean absolutely nothing to Trump. By virtue of their ethnicity, to Trump, they are not people with feelings. They are not congressional freshmen  eager to learn and serve. They are nothing to Trump other than a thorn in his side.

It is unacceptable for the President of the United States to voice his personal grievances in a public forum. Even more despicable is Trump’s lack of remorse for hurtful words. When asked if he is concerned about the criticism his offensive tweet has stirred, the President responded, “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me. A lot of people love it, by the way.”

And that is the saddest, most upsetting part of all of this. Trump’s war of words has revealed the inner thoughts of many Americans who agree with him and love him for his bigotry.