President Donald Trump’s tweets from the past weekend, in which he disparaged four Democratic Congresswomen of color telling them to “go back” to their countries of origin (three of the four were born in the U.S.), is being called out by many as being un-American and racist.
The president himself doesn’t see it that way. “If you’re not happy here you can leave. That is what I say all of the time,” Trump said on Monday at the White House, defending his previous remarks, per reporting from Time. “That’s what I said in a Tweet which I guess some people think is controversial, a lot of people love it by the way. ”
Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show “weakness” and fall into their trap. This should be a vote on the filthy language, statements and lies told by the Democrat…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2019
On Tuesday, Trump was more forceful in his defense, tweeting again that he believed his prior social media posts were not bigoted.
“Those Tweets were NOT Racist,” Trump wrote. “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”
The federal government, meanwhile, says otherwise.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which oversees rules and regulations preventing employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability, the exact phrasing that Trump used in his tweets on Sunday are, indeed, discriminatory and insulting.
The trope Trump wrote is specifically cited as an example of unlawful remarks an employer can make toward a worker or potential hire, HuffPost reported.
“Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ whether made by supervisors or co-workers,” the EEOC website states.
The example was published on the government site before Trump tweeted them over the weekend.
The phrasing is, indeed, an old trope that has been used against immigrants and people of color for centuries in the United States.
Trump’s ‘go back to your country’ is a classic hate crime trope pic.twitter.com/HiCmGjTGHm
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 17, 2019
Recent polling demonstrates that most Americans also believe that the words Trump used were inappropriate. Fifty-nine percent of respondents in a USA Today/Ipsos poll this week said they were un-American, while 65 percent said they were also racist in nature.