WASHINGTON — Maine’s congressional delegation found fault with President Donald Trump on Monday after he called on a group of minority, liberal congresswomen to “apologize” to the United States, Israel and to him a day after he said in inflammatory tweets that they should “go back” to their countries.
“When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said,” Trump said in a new tweet Monday. “So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”
With his latest tweet, Trump dug in further on a line of attack that has drawn widespread condemnation from Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, who on Sunday called the president’s comments “xenophobic.” Republicans have remained largely silent.
Trump’s tweets appeared to target four outspoken freshmen lawmakers who have been feuding with Pelosi: Democratic Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
Only Omar was born outside the United States in Somalia. Her family fled the country amid civil war when she was a child and she became a U.S. citizen as a teenager. Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Tlaib in Detroit and Ocasio-Cortez in New York. All four have called for Trump’s impeachment. Tlaib did so in profane terms.
Earlier this year, Omar apologized after she was widely accused of anti-Semitic speech for suggesting that supporters of Israel’s government have an “allegiance to a foreign country.”
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, issued a statement saying she disagreed with the “far-left” congresswomen on “socialism, their anti-Semitic rhetoric, and their negative comments about law enforcement.”
However, she said Trump’s tweet that they should go back to the “places from which they came” was “way over the line.”
Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that the U.S. has “always had presidents who have tried to tamp down racism” and now Trump is “throwing a match on the flame.”
Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat from Maine’s 2nd District, said in a statement that Trump’s “race-baiting attacks are wrong.” He said he doesn’t agree with “some of the positions or statements of some of my colleagues,” but policy disagreements “should be okay in our democracy.”
“The president is looking for a fight so that he can divide and distract the American people and the media,” Golden said. “We shouldn’t take the bait and give the president what he wants.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from the 1st District, said in a statement that Trump’s “attempts to dehumanize duly elected lawmakers simply because they do not look like him is a lesson in how not to lead a democracy.”
On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the congresswomen “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and were “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States … 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,” Trump added. “Then come back and show us how it is done.”
Pressley was born in Cincinnati, Tlaib was born in Detroit and Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York. Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia; her family fled the country amid civil war when she was a child, and she became a U.S. citizen as a teenager.
BDN writer Michael Shepherd and Washington Post writer Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report.