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Trump to Muslim Congresswomen: Go back to your own countries 

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib delivers a speech at the event that was held by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington DC, United States on 10 January, 2019 [Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency]
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib delivers a speech at the event that was held by Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Washington DC, US on 10 January 2019 [Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency]

US President Donald Trump has doubled down on racist remarks he made during the weekend about a number of pro-Palestinian Democrat Congress members by insisting that they needed to apologise to Israel.

In a bizarre rant against his critics, Trump – who is widely considered the most pro-Israel president in US history – attacked four progressive Democratic congresswomen, telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”.

While the president did not name the target of his offensive tweet, which has been widely condemned for legitimising the racist narrative of the far-right, it is widely believed that his racist comments were directed at Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, and three of her Democrat colleagues: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

READ: US’ Ilhan Omar calls for ‘justice’ and ‘lasting peace’ in Gaza

Trump launched his racist, pro-Israel rant against the progressive Congresswomen yesterday in a Tweet: “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.”

He accused the elected representatives who, except for Somalia-born Omar, were all born in the US, of “viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” before making what seems to be the most racist remark made by a sitting US president in modern history. “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”, said Trump.

The remarks were met with wide-scale condemnation, including by Ruth Ben-Ghiat, an American historian and a scholar on fascism and authoritarian leaders. Ben-Ghiat warned against Trump’s normalisation of racist hate speech telling her followers: “Some time ago I warned that the Trump admin might move from targeting illegal immigrants to green card holders to naturalized American citizens to US born citizens with the “wrong” immigrant parents. His tweet telling members of Congress to “go home” suggests this progression”.

READ: Ex-Israel soldier, ‘world’s proudest Nazi’ launches attack on anti-racist campaigners

Trump reacted to the criticism by using his support for Israel to defend his racist comment. “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,” he said in a tweet early this morning.

Many noted the way in which Trump was using the narrative of white supremacists and racists to defend Israel.

READ: Far-right Tommy Robinson declares himself a ‘Zionist’ in leaked video

In a later tweet this morning Trump called on the Democrat Congresswomen to apologise to Israel. “When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel,” said Trump.

The racist comments were received in Israel with delight. Anti-Palestinian son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Trump in a tweet saying: “You are the best friend the Jewish people ever had in the White House!”

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