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Trump Tells Freshman Congresswomen to ‘Go Back’ to the Countries They Came From



Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib are far from the only congressional lawmakers who immigrated to the United States or were born to immigrant parents. In the House, there are currently at least 52 voting members who are immigrants or children of immigrants and 16 in the Senate — most of them Democrats — according to a Pew Research Center analysis from this year. Aside from Ms. Omar, four other congresswomen were born outside the United States, but they have largely not involved themselves in entanglements with Ms. Pelosi.

Ms. Omar has been vocal about her life as a refugee who fled Somalia and eventually settled in America, only to be disappointed with the country she found. More than any of the others in her freshman group, Ms. Omar — one of the first two Muslim women in Congress along with Ms. Tlaib — has forcefully used her personal story to make the argument that loving America does not require an acceptance of its shortcomings.

“I grew up in an extremely unjust society, and the only thing that made my family excited about coming to the United States was that the United States was supposed to be the country that guaranteed justice to all,” Ms. Omar recently said. “So, I feel it necessary for me to speak about that promise that’s not kept.”

Comments like these have inflamed Fox News personalities like Tucker Carlson, who used his television program to lash out at Ms. Omar.

“Our country rescued Ilhan Omar,” Mr. Carlson said in a broadcast last week. “We didn’t do it to get rich; in fact, it cost us money. We did it because we are kind people. How did Omar respond to the remarkable gift we gave her? She scolded us, and called us names, she showered us with contempt.”

Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that he does not hold racist views, despite his public statements. After a 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Mr. Trump was widely condemned for saying that people on “both sides” were to blame after one of the nationalists mowed down a group of protesters and killed a woman. And he was one of the most vocal proponents of the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

At other times, he has used vulgar language to describe immigrants and people of color. He has defended himself after calling people crossing into the country illegally “animals” — he said was referring only to MS-13 gang members. He has assailed players with the National Football League, many of whom are black, for taking a knee during the national anthem. And he has used a vulgar term to disparage immigrants from largely black nations.

But, to his critics, Mr. Trump’s comments on Sunday were a low point.

“It is sad to see the occupant of the Oval Office transition from empowering and encouraging racist taunts to actually using them himself,” said Nihad Awad, the national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “If Trump shouted the same thing at a Muslim woman wearing hijab in a Walmart, he might be arrested.”

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