- The Washington Times - Monday, July 22, 2019

President Trump stepped up his feud Monday with four liberal Democratic congresswomen, taunting them as “a very racist group of troublemakers” whose far-left views are easy for him to exploit politically.

Seeming more emboldened by the day in his battle with the four minority women known as “The Squad,” Mr. Trump also said he isn’t fueling racial divisions, saying black and Hispanic voters are benefiting from his economic leadership and will reward him with reelection next year.

“There’s no racial tension,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “We have fantastic relationships with the African American community. Certainly, you’re going to see that in 2020.”

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The president, who has been accused of racism since telling the lawmakers on July 14 to “go back” to their countries of origin, tried to turn the tables by assailing them for bigotry.

“The ‘Squad’ is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart,” the president tweeted Monday. “They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border … And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!”

One of those lawmakers, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, fired back at Mr. Trump in a speech to the annual NAACP convention.

“I’m not going nowhere, not until I impeach this president!” she said in Detroit.

All four lawmakers — Ms. Tlaib and Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — are U.S. citizens. Ms. Omar is the only one who was born in another country, Somalia.

They voted last month against a $4.5 billion humanitarian aid package for immigrants who were caught illegally crossing the border. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has compared border detention facilities to Nazi concentration camps, while Ms. Omar has been accused of downplaying Islamic extremism by saying that “some people” knocked down the twin towers in New York on 9/11.

In comments to reporters in the Oval Office later Monday, Mr. Trump said the lawmakers are “very bad for our country.”

“I think they must hate our country. … they’re very bad for the Democratic Party,” Mr. Trump said.

He said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership can’t control the foursome in their push for the Green New Deal, a plan to address climate change, and other liberal proposals.

“They’re pulling the Democrats way left,” Mr. Trump said. “Nobody knows how to handle them.”

The president’s method of handling the freshman lawmakers is to call attention to them daily and portray them as the true leaders of the Democratic Party, which won’t settle on a presidential nominee until next spring.

“I feel they’re easy to handle,” Mr. Trump said. “To me, they’re easy to handle because they’re just ‘out there.’”

The president has said he believes he is winning the rhetorical battle, accusing the lawmakers of anti-American views and calling them anti-Israel as well.

The Democrat-controlled House passed a resolution last week condemning the president’s “go back” remarks as racist, approving the measure mostly along party lines. Four Republicans voted with Democrats.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez accused the president again Monday of fomenting violence, after a Louisiana police officer was fired for posting a note on Facebook suggesting the lawmaker should be shot.

The officer, Charlie Rispoli of the Gretna, Louisiana, police force, called Ms. Ocasio-Cortez a “vile idiot” who “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” referring to her former job as a bartender.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “This is Trump’s goal when he uses targeted language & threatens elected officials who don’t agree w/ his political agenda. It’s authoritarian behavior. The President is sowing violence. He’s creating an environment where people can get hurt & he claims plausible deniability.”

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