AOC And The Squad Hold Blistering Press Conference To Fight Back Against Trump’s Racist Smears

Today, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib held an afternoon press conference in response to Trump’s racist attacks against the four freshmen congresswomen. Though he didn’t name any names, Trump tweeted over the weekend that the Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back to their country.”

Trump doubled down on his racist remarks in a White House rose garden presser, saying the four “hate our country” and falsely claiming Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar had said Al Qaeda was “wonderful.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley opened the press conference by thanking supporters, but it didn’t take long for her to get to the matter at hand—the racist in the Oval Office.

“I will only refer to him as the occupant of the White House because he is only occupying space,” Pressley said.

But that was far from the last mic drop moment.

“This is the agenda of white nationalists,” Rep. Ilhan Omar—who bore the brunt of Trump’s attacks—said of the president’s strategy. “Whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it is happening on national TV—and now it’s reached the White House garden.”

Omar also called out President Trump’s hypocritical stance on criticizing the country. “When this president ran and until today, he talked about everything that was wrong in this country and how he was going to make it great,” she said. “And so for him to condemn us and to say we are un-American for wanting to work hard to make this country be the country we all deserve to live in, it’s complete hypocrisy.”

Omar closed her remarks by calling for Trump’s impeachment. “[S]ince the day that I’ve gotten elected, I’ve said to people, it is not if he will be impeached, but when,” she said.

The four progressive congresswomen—known as “The Squad”—have been battling with both Democratic Leadership in the House and Trump over a bill to fund border security. Trump’s racist weekend tweets nodded toward the intraparty fight.

AOC initially responded to the attacks on Twitter, and like many, she was not happy about the president’s racist remarks.

“Mr. President, the country I “come from,” & the country we all swear to, is the United States,” she wrote. Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and Tlaib were all born in the United States, Omar emigrated to the U.S. from Mogadishu, Somalia. Ocasio-Cortez also pointed out that such language is straight out of the white supremacist lexicon.

AOC continued in a longer Twitter thread, explaining that the targeted congresswomen represent what America actually looks like, and pointed out that reality is squarely at odds with Trump’s vision of a nationalist, white supremacist base.

“You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez. In an especially pointed response to the president, she also says that “we don’t fear you.”

Ocasio-Cortez also shared responses from the other congresswomen who were targeted by Trump.

Omar reiterated that she—like all members of Congress—swore an oath to represent the United States. Pressley called out Trump’s racist comments for what they are, and reminded us that their election to Congress is what “America really looks like.”

Unsurprisingly, Republicans in Congress largely stayed silent or defended Trump’s tweets. Only a handful of elected Republicans have condemned Trump’s remarks—and most of those responses were couched with more jingoistic nonsense, neutered by caveats, or otherwise feckless.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is black, blasted Trump’s “racially offensive language,” while wrongly accusing Democrats of engaging in similar race-based attacks.

In a particularly shameful display of mental gymnastics, Rep. Andy Harris claimed that Trump really meant that the four congresswomen could “go back to the district they came from—to the neighborhood they came from.”

While the witnessing lengths Trump’s supporters will go to in order to defend his indefensible actions has been numbing, this is truly a new low.