Congress’ Fab Freshmen squad-ed up against Donald Trump Monday, calling his attacks on them racist clickbait that wasn’t going to deter them from working on the issues the people sent them to the House to solve—including impeaching him, if necessary.
The fabulous foursome, aka “the Squad,” aka the four progressive, freshman congresswomen closely aligned in the House—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—called a news conference to respond to racist attacks Trump launched over the weekend during which he told them they can “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” if they didn’t like the direction of the nation under his administration.
The fab four’s message to the nation? “Don’t take the bait.”
“I encourage the American people … to not take the bait,” said Pressley. “This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people that we were sent here with a decisive mandate from our constituents to work on; everything from reducing the cost of prescription drugs to addressing our affordable housing crisis to ensuring the American people have more than health insurance but health care.”
Omar, who is one of the first two Muslim women to ever be elected to Congress (the other is Tlaib), as well as the only one of the Squad to have actually been born outside the U.S., said Trump is trafficking in racist and bigoted attacks as a way to distract from his own wrongdoing.
“This is a president who has violated the very values our country aspires to uphold: equality under the law, religious liberty, equal protection, and protection from persecution,” Omar said. “And to distract from them, he’s launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives—all of whom are women of color. This is the agenda of white nationalists.”
“We can either continue to enable this president and report on the vial of garbage that comes out of his mouth, or we can hold him accountable to his crimes.”
In agreement, Tlaib added, “This is not the first, nor the last, time we will hear bigoted language from this president.”
Perhaps Tlaib’s words were prescient, as Trump, apparently
hate watching live-tweeting the fab four’s Monday afternoon presser, reiterated his vitriol in a tweet sent around the time the press conference began:
But lest anyone forget the power Congress holds in policing a president, both Omar and Tlaib also directly called for Trump’s impeachment.
“I have not made impeachment central to my election or my tenure,” said Omar, “but since the day I got elected, I’ve said to people that it is not if he will be impeached, but when. So, it is time for us to stop allowing this president to make a mockery of this Constitution. It’s time for us to impeach this president.”
Ocasio-Cortez did not speak of impeachment in her remarks, but while directly addressing Trump’s attacks, the representative from New York’s Bronx borough said: “We don’t leave what we love, we fix it.”
Bottom line: When it comes to Trump, he attacks because he has no valid arguments, Ocasio-Cortez said in response to a reporter’s question.
“Weak minds and leaders challenge loyalty to our country in order to avoid challenging and debating the policy,” she said. “This president does not know how to make the argument that Americans do not deserve health care. He does not know how to defend his policies, so what he does is attack us personally.
“He can’t look a child in the face and he can’t look all Americans in the face and justify why this country is throwing them in cages,” she continued, referencing the migrant detainee crisis at the U.S. southern border. “So, instead, he tells us that I should go back to the great borough of the Bronx and make it better, and that’s what I’m here to do.”