(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump made a new broadside against a faction of progressive Democrats led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, suggesting they return to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Trump’s remarks sparked immediate outrage from Democrats. Representative Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico decried “a racist tweet from a racist president.”
The comments, made in a three-tweet string early Sunday, were apparently aimed at Representative Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Minnesota, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who together have been locked into an intraparty dispute with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump said the lawmakers “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” and should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”
Trump also said he was sure Pelosi “would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
In response, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that “unfortunately there’s an American tradition of telling people to go back to where they came from” and that Trump was trying to “gin up his base” by keeping Americans divided.
“You don’t expect to hear it from the president of the United States,” de Blasio, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Lujan, the assistant Speaker and a member of the Hispanic Caucus in the House, became emotional on “Fox News Sunday” when shown Trump’s tweet. “That is a racist tweet. Telling people to go back where they came from? I think that’s wrong,” he said.
Pelosi last week told the New York Times that the vocal freshmen lawmakers were just “four people” among the Democratic House majority after a party split over a $4.6 billion border funding bill.
Among the lawmakers implied in Trump’s tweet, only one -- Omar -- was born outside the U.S., having migrated with her family from Somalia after spending four years in a refugee camp. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley were born in New York, Detroit and Chicago, respectively.
(Updates with Ben Ray Lujan in second paragraph.)
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