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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

McMorris Rodgers: Trump ‘wrong’ to tell four Democratic congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their countries

From left, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.,  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY.,  and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. In tweets Sunday,  Donald Trump portrays the lawmakers as foreign-born troublemakers who should go back to their home countries. In fact, the lawmakers, except one, were born in the U.S. (Associated Press)

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Monday said President Donald Trump was “wrong” when he excoriated four members of Congress in a Twitter tirade widely condemned as racist and xenophobic.

U.S. Rep. Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho, declined to offer an opinion on Trump’s comments, saying he found it “interesting” that the many reporters who asked for a response Monday didn’t seek his reaction when some of those congresswomen said “anti-Semitic” things.

Other Republican members of Congress representing the Inland Northwest were mostly silent about the president’s tweet when asked for a reaction by The Spokesman-Review.

“The president’s tweets yesterday were wrong and distract from the discourse we’re having in this country about socialism,” McMorris Rodgers said Monday in a statement provided by her spokesman. “Freedom-loving Americans will win this debate with the facts, not personal attacks: Capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty and raise the standard of living than any other economic system in the world.”

Of the four congresswomen, three were born in the United States and the fourth is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

The Spokane Republican did not immediately answer a follow-up inquiry whether she thought Trump’s suggestion that the four Democratic congresswomen go back to countries they came from was racist.

“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,” Trump tweeted Sunday.

“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.”

Fulcher, whose district includes North Idaho, declined to say what he thought of the Trump tweet, but through his spokeswoman released a statement when asked for a comment:

“It’s interesting that I’ve been asked by many media outlets about President Trump’s latest comments directed toward a few of my freshman colleagues, yet I was never asked for comment when some of these same members made antisemitic comments or compared our southern border housing to the holocaust. All of us took an oath to be loyal to the constitution and the laws of this country – that is where my efforts are focused.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., said in an interview earlier this year that her Palestinian ancestors lost their lives, land and livelihoods and “all of it was in the name of trying to create a save haven for Jews, post-the-Holocaust, post the tragedy and the horrific persecution of Jews around the world at that time.” Her comments were criticized as being anti-Semitic, although, as being of Palestinian ancestry, Tlaib is technically Semitic.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y, was criticized for calling detention centers for asylum seekers American-run concentration camps, which is what Nazis called their death camps for Jews and other groups they tried to eliminate during World War II.

“The United States is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are – they are concentration camps,” she told an Instagram Live audience. “And if that doesn’t bother you … I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that we should not, that ‘never again’ means something.”

Fulcher’s office did not immediately respond to a request to clarify whether he thought Trump’s tweet and the congresswomen’s comments were equally bad.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said through a spokesman he “doesn’t have a comment.” Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, was traveling and unable to be reached for comment, a spokeswoman said. Rep. Dan Newhouse, who represents central Washington’s 4th District, had not made a statement yet, a spokeswoman said Monday, and did not immediately return a request for one.

Democrats were much quicker to comment. Gov. Jay Inslee posted on Twitter the attacks were racist, and the lack of condemnation from Republicans was “shameful and embarrassing.” Further criticism of the congresswomen by the president was a “racist being racist,” he said in a separate posting on Twitter.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Sunday posted a message on Twitter to the four congresswomen that “you are home, we are grateful for you, and we are not going to stop fighting back against this President’s efforts to fuel racism, hate, and division in our country.”