A leftover from last night’s rally in Pennsylvania. We don’t have to speculate what he meant here when he implicitly excluded Omar from “our country.” He was clear about that last year.
Those tweets were aimed at “the Squad,” a group of four minority women, three of whom were born in the U.S. Trump’s “go back where you came from” logic was lobbed indiscriminately at all of them apparently because of their skin color. Omar is the exception, having been born in Somalia, but she’s lived in the U.S. since she was 13 and has been an American citizen for 20 years now. Her politics are loathsome, particularly the anti-semitic strains in her rhetoric about Israel, but a bunch of American citizens decided she’s enough of an American too to have sent her to Congress to represent them.
Not good enough for Trump:
Trump on Ilhan Omar: She’s telling us how to run our country. How did you do where you came from? pic.twitter.com/XLSRZd6yFf
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 22, 2020
Omar’s not right about much but she’s right in the clip below. Remember, Trump actually held a naturalization ceremony at the White House during the Republican convention to try to convince swing voters in the audience that he’s pro-immigration, his record to the contrary notwithstanding:
Rep. @Ilhan Omar (D-MN) hits back at Trump's attacks: "Not only is he a racist, but he's a racist xenophobic. Because he's not against immigration, he's just against immigrants who look like me." pic.twitter.com/p70xtETGji
— The Recount (@therecount) September 23, 2020
It’s not immigration per se that he opposes, it’s immigration from “sh*thole countries.” Although I’d amend Omar’s comment to clarify that, when push comes to shove, Trump looks fondly on whoever’s willing to toady to him, even the people from “sh*tholes.” If Omar put on a MAGA hat, she’d be part of “our country.” Because she won’t, that’s license for him to criticize her by focusing on the fact that she was born a foreigner. And a black Muslim foreigner to boot, something that’s surely not lost on his audience.
Here’s another interesting comment he made this week while out on the trail, this time in Minnesota. That’s Omar’s home state. “Every family in Minnesota needs to know about sleepy Joe Biden’s extreme plan to flood your state with an influx of refugees from Somalia and from other places all over the planet. That’s what’s happened, and you like Omar a lot, don’t you?” he told the crowd. Minnesota is also where George Floyd was killed and where the national BLM protests took off, of course. He’s counting on a backlash there among white voters to hand him the state in November. Which brings us to this:
“You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.” — Trump pic.twitter.com/OiF63qZaKx
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 19, 2020
The comment about genes was framed in terms of the hardy pioneer stock that settled Minnesota originally, but in the context of his campaign strategy the bit about the “racehorse theory” is next-level creepy, just nakedly eugenic. What’s ironic is that we’re probably going to spend the next month in a frenzy of indignation — justifiably — at anti-Catholic bigotry aimed at Amy Coney Barrett. (It’s already begun among the media, in fact.) The president got elected after pushing a Muslim ban, he’s taking about genes and breeding on the campaign trail, he’s hinting that a Muslim congressman who came here as a child isn’t part of “our” country, and yet all of that will go by the boards once he acts offended on Barrett’s behalf about religious discrimination.
That’s nationalism for you, I guess. Christian sects are part of “our country,” Islam isn’t. Unless you’re a Muslim for Trump, in which case you’re part of it too.
Inspired by the “genes” comment and his attacks on Omar, WaPo dropped this bomb on Trump today:
In unguarded moments with senior aides, President Trump has maintained that Black Americans have mainly themselves to blame in their struggle for equality, hindered more by lack of initiative than societal impediments, according to current and former U.S. officials.
After phone calls with Jewish lawmakers, Trump has muttered that Jews “are only in it for themselves” and “stick together” in an ethnic allegiance that exceeds other loyalties, officials said…
Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, has made similar allegations and calls Trump “a racist, a predator, a con man” in a newly published book. Cohen accuses Trump of routinely disparaging people of color, including former president Barack Obama. “Tell me one country run by a Black person that isn’t a s—hole,” Trump said, according to Cohen.
One former senior White House official defended Trump to the paper this way: “This is a guy who abuses people in his cabinet, abuses four-star generals, abuses people who gave their life for this country, abuses civil servants. It’s not like he doesn’t abuse people that are White as well.” Which is a weird way to stick up for him, but it’s true! Again, the litmus test for Trump isn’t “are you white?”, it’s “are you pro-Trump?” Nothing you’ve done can be forgiven if the answer is no, nothing you’ve done can’t be forgiven if the answer is yes. But, for someone like Omar, the fact that she immigrated here clearly is something that he thinks needs to be forgiven. She can gain absolution by accepting our lord and savior Donald into her heart but until she does so she’s damned by her original sin of being a foreigner.
I’ll leave you with this, a bit of trivia about the same Minnesota rally where he made the “genes” remark. It’s interesting that his aides seem to have the same view of his base that his critics do.
.@peterbakernyt: When news broke RBG had died, Trump was 5 min. into a campaign rally in MN “and aides opted not to pass word to him onstage. If he announced the death of the liberal justice from the lectern, they feared the crowd would cheer.” https://t.co/rsSqCroMDr
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 23, 2020