U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Bill Pascrell had few kind words for President Donald Trump over the latter’s call for four first-term progressive congresswomen to go back to their countries.
“The reality is that when the president uses that type of language, it is not only derogatory and discriminatory but, in my own personal view, bigoted,” Menendez said. “These members of Congress, several of them born in the United States, when did they become a second-class citizen of the United States? They did not, and those who are naturalized, they are full citizens of the United States.”
Trump’s tweets are largely viewed as being targeted at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).
Omar, the only one of the four not born in the United States, emigrated from Somalia in 1992 and was naturalized in 2000.
The newcomers have been fiercely critical of Trump, congressional Republicans and even members of their own caucus.
“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,” Trump said on Twitter. “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
Despite backlash, Trump stood by his comments Monday, demanding that the congresswomen apologize to him, America and Israel for their statements.
“If I get back to my job in time this afternoon, I intend to speak on the floor. I think this is a horrendous moment for the country,” Pascrell said. “I went back into all my notes over the 24 years dealing with immigration, and I’ve never seen a time when we had pointed our fingers at people because of their religion or because of their geography.”