Posts tagged with "The Squad"

Trump aides see personal malice, not political strategy, in Twitter attacks on Baltimore, Cummings

August 2, 2019

After a week during which President Donald Trump was labeled a “racist” and a “white supremacist” for his affronts to “The Squad” of women of color in the House, the activist Reverend Al Sharpton, CNN anchor Don Lemon, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland—and the latter’s home district, Baltimore, which Trump described as “rat-infested and  a “living hell”— the POTUS was asked by the media to explain his strategy.

“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy,” he told reporters on July 30. “It’s very simple.”

However, most political pundits believe that he did have two underlying reasons for the attacks. First, he believes that his denigration of Puerto Ricans, immigrants, blacks, and others of color builds the loyalty of his largely white base nationwide.

Second, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal,  Trump was “set off by last week’s decision by the House Oversight Committee,” which Cummings chairs, to subpoena top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, for its probe into official emails and texts sent from personal accounts.

The news outlet also pointed to Cummings’ remarks at a news conference last week, at which he suggested further action against the administration was imminent. “There comes a point when silence becomes betrayal,” Cummings said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.

“People know this is the president. He’s going to fight back,” said one campaign adviser. “It’s not a surprise to anyone as much as it was before.”

Cummings responded on Twitter: “I will continue to do every day what I am duty-bounded to do—help my constituents to live their best lives and serve as a check on the Executive Branch.”

While Trump’s supporters have not come out in defense of the president’s remarks, they also have not criticized him to any great degree. Indeed, the Journal reports, Trump campaign officials do not view the gibes against Cummings as damaging to the president’s odds of re-election. The campaign sees the president’s polling numbers as most vulnerable when voters perceive the White House to be in chaos, when Mr. Trump’s base of supporters dislike legislation he signs, and when the president is perceived as “punching down,” one adviser told the news outlet.

In direct opposition to what he, himself, has said publicly, the president repeatedly has  bragged about his record on behalf of African-Americans. On Tuesday, he said African-Americans had “been calling the White House” and were “happy as hell.”

Research contact: Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com

Virginia State Dems and Black Caucus boycott Trump speech at Jamestown ceremony

July 31, 2019

In a speech interrupted by a Muslim lawmaker who heckled him—and boycotted by the Virginia State Democratic legislative caucus, as well as the Black Legislative Caucus—President Donald Trump commemorated the 400th anniversary of American democracy in Jamestown, Virginia, on July 30.

Indeed, as Trump delivered a text intended to celebrate America’s self-rule and to dispel his own image as a racist—following a week in which he had disparaged legislators and activists of color, including The Squad of four progressive female lawmakers in the House; Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), and the Reverend Al Sharpton—a lone protestor rose from the audience to take him to task.

Ibraheem Samirah, a Democrat serving the state’s 86th District in Virginia’s General Assembly—and a son of Palestinian refugees who was separated from his father in middle school when the senior Samirah was not allowed to return to the United States—stood and held up signs that read “deport hate” and “reunite my family.”

A third message said “go back to your corrupted home,” the Washington Times reported.

Although he was escorted out of the venue, Samirah said in a statement that he was confident his constituents would rather have him protest than “passively accept” Trump’s presence.

Other lawmakers had voiced their disapproval before the speech. The Black Legislative Caucus announced on July 29 that its members would not attend the celebration, saying that Trump’s participation is “antithetical to the principles” for which the group stands. Caucus members instead planned alternative commemorative events in Richmond.

“Surely there’s a better voice for such an occasion,” Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-74th District-Virginia)  –who heads the Black Caucus– wrote on Twitter.  

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney resigned from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation’s steering committee for the commemoration event, writing in his resignation letter that Trump “denigrates our democracy” and has no place at the event, the Times reported.

“We will not be attending any part of the commemorative session where Donald Trump is in attendance,” the Virginia House Democrats said on Twitter. “The current President does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world.

According to a report on the event by The New York Times, as he took questions for over ten minutes following his speech, President Donald Trump appeared not to know that a boycott was in place, saying he would be “shocked” if opponents of color were declining to attend the event.

“If that’s the case, they’re fighting against their people,” Trump said, repeating an unverified claim that his administration had been receiving calls nonstop praising his comments on Baltimore as a vermin- and rat-infested city. “The African-American people have been calling the White House. They have never been so happy about what a president has done.”

“I think I’m helping myself,” Trump said. “These people are living in hell in Baltimore.”

Research contact: @WashTimes

Valerie Jarrett: Trump’s attacks ‘are intended to silence [people of color] in obedience’

July 30, 2019

On July 29, Valerie Jarrett, who served as a senior adviser to former President Barack Obama from 2009 through 2017, blasted President Donald Trump for his repeated racist attacks against political opponents, CNN reported.

Indeed, she said, the president’s provocations and taunts against people of color—among them, “The Squad” of four progressive female House legislators, Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), and the Reverend Al Sharpton—”are intended to silence us in obedience.”.

On Friday, July 26, Jarrett joined nearly 150 African-Americans who worked in the Obama administration in writing an op-ed published in The Washington Post to support and defend The Squad—Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts).

Earlier this month, Trump targeted the four women with racist language, telling them “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

All of that, despite the fact that three of the four were born in the United States, and the fourth is a naturalized US citizen.

“What we said in this letter is we’re not going to be sitting idly by. We’re Americans, we’re patriotic, we love our country,” Jarrett said in an interview on CNN with “New Day” co-anchor Alisyn Camerota. “One of the important ways that you demonstrate that love is by speaking up when you see behavior that you think is divisive and destructive to our country, and that’s what we’ve been observing during the course of President Trump’s time in office.”

Over the past few days, Trump continued his attacks against notable people of color by tweeting against both Cummings and Sharpton.

Following a weekend in which he labeled Baltimore, where Cummings lives and which he represents, a “disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess,” on Monday, in yet another tweet, the president said, “Baltimore, under the leadership of Elijah Cummings, has the worst Crime Statistics in the Nation. 25 years of all talk, no action. So tired of listening to the same old Bull…Next, Reverend Al will show up and complain & Protest. Nothing will get done for the people in need]. Sad!

Jarrett also the noted the correlation between those who criticize the President and those who become targets of his attacks. “It’s this pattern, anyone who speaks up against the president is fair game for this personal criticism and anger, and that’s not what makes our country strong,” Jarrett told CNN.

Research contact: @ValerieJarrett

House showdown on impeachment could be imminent

July 18, 2019

Following  President Donald Trump’s racists tweets and rants this week against the four progressive congresswomen of color who have been dubbed The Squad, Representative Al Green (D-Texas) introduced articles of impeachment on July 16, forcing a vote—and setting up a potential showdown—in the Democratic-controlled House.

Under House rules, The Huffington Post reported, Green can force the chamber to act on his resolution within two legislative days. He has called for an up-or-down vote. House leadership could vote to table it or refer it to the Judiciary Committee for action.

The vote was predicted to take place as soon as Wednesday night, July 17. The Texas lawmaker read the articles aloud on the House floor on Tuesday night, citing the president’s “go back” to other countries rant against Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan).

Green said, ″Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office”

Further, Green accused the president of bringing “contempt, ridicule, disgrace, and disrepute” to the office, The Huffington Post reported.

Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has so far defied calls for impeachment—fearful that her party members could face political jeopardy in 2020, if they go forward—according to The Washington Post, 86 House Democrats say they support at least opening an impeachment inquiry.

Green’s resolution came hours after the House voted to condemn as racist Trump’s attacks on the four freshmen.

“To condemn a racist President is not enough, we must impeach him,” Green said in a statement Tuesday about his decision to introduce articles of impeachment against Trump. “This will be a defining vote. The world is watching, and history will judge us all.”

Research contact: @RepAlGreen

Editor’s note:  NBC News reported that the House voted on Wednesday to table Green’s resolution to impeach the president. Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) the vote came in at 332-95, effectively killing the measure.