President Trump’s divisive, racially and ethnically insensitive comments on Twitter aimed at U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), freshman women of color duly elected to their jobs by people in multi-racial districts, shows that he has no interest in hearing anything they have to say. Tweeting that these lawmakers should “go back where they come from” reminds many people of the pre-Civil Rights era when progressive politicians of color got that type of response when they challenged segregation and White supremacy.
As horrendous as the president’s tweets are, the response of his fellow Republicans could be worse. The Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress have been tepid in their response. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hasn’t condemned the remarks, saying the president isn’t racist and implying that Democrats have engaged in similar banter.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the House Minority Leader said the controversy “was political” and refused to condemn the president for insulting his colleagues. The Republican National Committee, which consists of some African Americans members, hasn’t issued a statement criticizing Trump’s tweets.
Black Republicans in the U.S. Congress, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) have blasted Trump’s remarks, with Hurd saying “I think those tweets are racist and xenophobic” and “inaccurate”. Notwithstanding Scott and Hurd, the Republican Party’s response to the latest Trump tweets has been eerily silent.
The Republican Party needs to stand up to the president and condemn his bigoted tweets. Republicans often brag that they are the party of Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves, and the party of Ronald Reagan, perhaps the most genuinely conservative president the country had in the 20th century.
However, the GOP of today seems to be enthralled by a president who doesn’t hesitate to belittle and condemn the descendants of the slaves Lincoln freed and while Reagan’s staunch conservatism remains unquestioned, he understood that he served all Americans, even those who disagreed with his views.
If the Republican Party wants to become relevant in the coming decades, with people of color assuming majority status in less than a quarter of a century, it must disparage any fellow party member, whether they are the president or dogcatcher, who harbor racist and White supremacist views and advocate for a more inclusive America.