The four progressive Democratic lawmakers who President Donald Trump has targeted with repeated racist taunts in recent days hit back at him during a fiery press conference on Monday.
Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)—who call themselves “the Squad”—appeared together on Capitol Hill to jointly denounce Trump for repeatedly saying that they should go back to the countries they came from, as well as other smears, like suggestions they are anti-American, anti-Semitic, and supportive of terrorist groups like al Qaeda.
The four freshmen lawmakers mixed forceful responses to Trump’s language with broader critiques of his presidency. Tlaib, for example, framed Trump’s remarks as a continuation of his “racist, xenophobic playbook” and urged support for impeachment of the president.
Omar attacked the administration’s immigration policy, economic agenda and brought up in visceral detail Trump’s long record of inflammatory comments. “We have to take action when a president is openly violating the oath he took to the Constitution of the United States and the core values we aspire to,” said Omar.
And on Trump calling for the women of color—all U.S. citizens, and all but Omar born in the U.S.—to leave, Omar said, "Every single person who's brown or black in this country has heard that.”
The lawmakers’ joint appearance came hours after Trump continued to attack them—particularly Omar, who the president claimed “hates Jews”—in a White House press gaggle Monday morning. And just minutes before their press conference, he re-upped his attacks: “IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE,” he tweeted, “YOU CAN LEAVE!”
The president’s tirades served to unify Democrats around the four progressive freshmen after a week that sharply divided them and Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill.
In her remarks, Pressley alluded to some of the divisions within the Democratic caucus, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s dismissal of the so-called “Squad” as a lonely group of four.
“Our squad is big,” said Pressley. “We cannot—we will not—be silenced.”