Completion Date: 18 July 2019
Medium: Paint & ink on cardboard
Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches
President Trump said on Twitter on 14 July 2019 that “‘Progressive’ Democratic Congresswomen” should “go back” to their countries – even though three of the four lawmakers he was seemingly referring to were born in the U.S. and all are American citizens. His tweets drew disgust from House Democrats, who called them racist and xenophobic.
“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly … and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” he tweeted Sunday morning.
“Why don’t they 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,” the president wrote. “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
Mr. Trump was almost certainly referring to a quartet of newly elected non-white Democratic congresswomen who have been outspoken critics of the president and his administration. Three of those lawmakers — New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley – were born and raised in the U.S. The fourth, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, came to the U.S. from Somalia when she was 10 and became a citizen when she was 17.
All four women, who have come to be known as “the Squad,” broke ethnic and gender barriers when they were elected last year. Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. Pressley is the first black congresswoman to represent Massachusetts. Ocasio-Cortez, at 29, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
The president’s tweets come amid a dispute between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the progressive lawmakers, who have grown impatient with Democratic leadership. The back-and-forth has spilled out into public view over the past two weeks, after Pelosi seemed to minimize the influence of the new members. Ocasio-Cortez then accused Pelosi of “singling out newly elected women of color.”
All four of the freshmen congresswomen fired back at the president on Twitter – and the president later fired back at them.
Tlaib was the first to respond writing: “Want a response to a lawless & complete failure of a President? He is the crisis. His dangerous ideology is the crisis. He needs to be impeached.”
Pressley posted a screenshot of the tweets and wrote, “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere. Except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalize and vilify everyday.” Omar said the president is “stoking white nationalism [because] you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”
Ocasio-Cortez reminded Mr. Trump that she’s from the U.S. “You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder,” she said.