WHITE HOUSE – U.S. President Donald Trump is continuing, for a fifth consecutive day, to question the loyalty to the United States of four congresswomen he accuses of making statements “with such hatred to our country.”
Speaking Thursday in the Oval Office with reporters, Trump said the first-term Democratic Party lawmakers, known collectively as “The Squad,” have a big obligation to love their country.
Alongside Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the president was asked about chants of “send her back” at a political rally the previous night when he criticized one of the congresswomen, Ilhan Omar, a war refugee from Somalia.
“These are people who love our country,” said Trump of those who chanted, but “I’m not happy when I hear a chant like that.”
Asked by a reporter Thursday at an earlier Oval Office event why he did not try to stop the chant at the event in Greenville, North Carolina, the president replied: “I think I did. I started speaking very quickly.”
But television footage shows Trump stood by silently for 13 seconds while the chant went on before he started talking.
When reporters outside the Capitol asked Omar about Trump on Thursday, she replied, “I believe he is fascist.”
She asked, “Because I criticized the president, I should be deported?”
Omar is one of four new members of Congress, all women of color, who repeatedly have been attacked by Trump since Sunday on social media and in public comments.
Omar posted a tweet late Wednesday featuring a picture of herself wearing a hijab and seated in the speaker’s chair in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber, along with a message for Trump and his supporters, who have in recent days repeatedly suggested the U.S. citizen “go back” to Somalia.
“I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!” Omar wrote.
Also, Omar late Wednesday, quoted the late African American poet Maya Angelou, tweeting, “You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like the air, I’ll rise.”
“I think in some cases, they hate America,” Trump said of congresswomen Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayana Pressley and Rashida Tlaib at the rally Wednesday.
When Trump accused Omar of “anti-Semitic screeds,” the crowd responded with chants of “Send her back.”
These congresswomen, their comments are helping to fuel the rise of a militant hard left,” declared Trump at the event.
The four Democratic representatives have found a very powerful defender at the United Nations.
In Geneva on Thursday, U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet called the lawmakers “fantastic … bright women who dare to say what they think.”
Without naming names, Bachelet said global leaders who use hate speech give license to others to be xenophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic.
“That’s one of the dangers in the world today,” she added.
Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, concerned about the tone at the Wednesday rally, sent a letter Thursday to the Capitol Police Board, requesting an emergency meeting regarding what he says are increased threats against lawmakers.
“The president’s attacks on members of Congress have emboldened people to pursue acts of violence toward public officials before,” Thompson stated in the letter. “I strongly believe that the Police Board must act swiftly to address heightened threats to these and other members of Congress.”
Thompson said the board’s actions could include “thresholds for enhanced security for certain targeted members, and information sharing about threat streams with law enforcement in such members’ districts.”
Source: Voice of America