President Donald Trump received quite a bit of backlash for a number of tweets he sent out on Monday morning, including one in which he retweeted a user who shared a doctored image of Democratic leaders.
That tweet featured Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wearing a turban and a hijab, respectively. The tweet itself was captioned, “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue,” with the Iranian flag placed behind both lawmakers.
Many were critical of the president’s retweet for separate reasons. First, it implied that Pelosi and Schumer were sympathetic to the Iranian regime. While they’ve criticized Trump for the way he’s handled foreign policy with Iran in recent weeks, both have also made efforts to point out they in no way support the government of Iran.
Second, criticism was also made toward the president for somehow suggesting the garb Pelosi and Schumer were wearing was somehow antagonistic toward America’s goals.
“This type of bigoted message promoted by the President of the United States will serve to further endanger American Muslims, Sikhs, and members of other faiths who wear recognizable religious attire,” Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in an email to Newsweek.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, however, tried to defend the tweet while being interviewed on Fox News hours after it was sent out. When asked why it was appropriate for the president to share out the doctored image of Pelosi and Schumer (in a way that one social media user said was a “slur” to the way she herself dressed), Grisham ignored the question altogether and went on the attack — again, accusing Democrats of being sympathetic to the Iranian regime.
Stephanie Grisham on Trump retweeting an image mocking how Muslims dress: "I think the president is making clear that Democrats are parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill Americans." 😳 pic.twitter.com/zCY6xUUj9p
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 13, 2020
“I think the president is making clear that the Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans,” Grisham said, per reporting from IJR. “I think the president was making the point that the Democrats seem to hate him so much that they’re willing to be on the side of countries and leadership of countries who want to kill Americans.”
But Democrats are joined by a majority of Americans in standing against Trump’s actions with regard to Iran in recent weeks. According to one poll, a majority of citizens in the U.S. feel less safe due to the president’s behavior and military actions, and 56 percent say they disapprove of his handling of the situation with Iran.