Most lawmakers commemorated Independence Day with patriotic or at least positive messages, but not Democratic Reps. Cori Bush and Maxine Waters.
The two progressive firebrands blasted the nation’s history of slavery and decried the current political climate in Sunday tweets, with Ms. Bush declaring that “Black people still aren’t free.”
“When they say that the 4th of July is about American freedom, remember this: the freedom they’re referring to is for white people,” tweeted Ms. Bush, a first-term representative from Missouri. “This land is stolen land and Black people still aren’t free.”
Ms. Waters, the veteran California lawmaker, took issue with the Declaration of Independence’s statement that “all men are created equal.”
“July 4th… & so, the Declaration of Independence says all men are created equal. Equal to what? What men? Only white men? Isn’t it something that they wrote this in 1776 when African Americans were enslaved? They weren’t thinking about us then, but we’re thinking about us now!” she tweeted.
Ms. Waters also slammed recently enacted election laws, saying that “17 states have enacted voter suppression laws” and listed the names of five Black people killed by police, including George Floyd.
“Need I say more? #July4,” she concluded.
Even the famously progressive members of “the Squad” were more positive: Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts Democrat, tweeted that “dissent is patriotic,” while Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, reprinted the Langston Hughes poem that starts “I, too, sing America.”
Conservatives were quick to decry the critical comments timed to the celebration of the Declaration of Independence.
Rep. Byron Donalds, Florida Republican, declared Monday that “What Cori tweeted is ridiculous.”
“Black people are free in America. That is what has happened since 1865. That is the state of play in 2021 America,” Mr. Donalds said on “Fox & Friends.” “So I look at her tweet, I shake my head, I don’t agree, and to be truthful, most Black people just don’t agree with that and most people don’t agree with that.”
Mr. Donalds said that the success of Black Americans should be applauded.
“We live in the greatest country in the world,” Mr. Donalds said. “More Black people have accomplished and achieved more wealth here in the United States than any country in the world. We should actually celebrate that.”
Also weighing in was Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, who advised Ms. Bush to “stop with the racism now Cori and put your race card back in your pocket.”
“Says a black woman, who is one of only 435 people in all of America currently elected to serve in Congress,” tweeted Ms. Taylor Greene, adding that “4th of July is freedom for all from a tyrannical government.”
Commentator Tim Acheson responded to Ms. Waters’ tweet with, “If you hate America so much, why do you still live here?” Rep. Claudia Tenney, New York Republican, added: “And take a government paycheck and millions in benefits.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Bush drew cheers from activist Shahid Buttar, who ran unsuccessfully to challenge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the 2020 Democratic primary in her San Francisco-based district.
“It’s almost as if our entire country has been brainwashed to ignore our history — and how its worst elements continue today — despite our self-congratulatory rhetoric,” Mr. Buttar tweeted.