On Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted to condemn the racist statements of the person whom Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley refers to as “the current occupant of the White House.” The reprimand was a good start. But the fact that only four Republican members of Congress voted to condemn Trump’s outrageous slurs against Congresswoman Pressley and her colleagues of color, is disgraceful.
Trump’s latest collection of insults— a three-day onslaught of insults targeting women of color serving in Congress, including Pressley— amounts to a campaign of harassment and attempted intimidation on the basis of race and gender.
This individual is pathological in his targeted hatred towards women of color. Telling American citizens— whether natural born or naturalized— to “go back” to their ancestral homes, as though they are not equal in some manner to him and white Americans— is a sickening slur. It’s not a close cousin to white supremacism. It is full-frontal white supremacy given voice and sanctioned by the president of the United States and aided and abetted by his Republican allies. It must not go uncountered and unpunished.
Pressley and her colleagues counseled this week that we not “take the bait.” Trump thrives on the chaos and contentiousness inflamed by his comments, Pressley notes. Trumpist policies, particularly those now unfolding on the southern border, should be our focus. But that does not mean that outrageous, vile behavior from the most powerful office in the land can or should go unanswered. We must be able to both counter Trumpist policies and the wicked words of Trump himself.
Words matter. It is no accident that Trump and his cowardly Congressional lapdogs— Lindsay Graham in particular—have sought to marginalize and vilify black and brown women while giving a pass to white leaders who are just as strident in their critiques. It is because they are bigots, intent on enlisting ignorant white Americans fearful of black and brown people, immigrants and anyone who is not them. In doing so, it puts the White House and Republican leaders in league with the most insidious elements of the white power movement.
The wild-eyed rhetoric that Trump and his cronies have adopted is intended to dehumanize, de-Americanize their fellow Americans. The suggestion that someone’s ancestral roots somehow relates to their loyalty to this country is a disgusting slur, far worse even than his callous, also-racist and ignorant assaults on nations he deems “shitholes.” These are American women— his equals and then some, in every way— whom he assails as “certain people who hate our country.” He recklessly and erroneously characterizes them as “communists,” “anti-Semitic” and “pro-Al Qaeda.”
This smear campaign, this wave of lies emanating from the Oval Office would have prompted a national security crisis in another administration. It says something very troubling about the state of this present administration that there is a shoulder-shrug reaction from his enablers and his supporters.
The person behind these attacks on women of color in Congress— including our neighbor, Congresswoman Pressley— is not some random, anonymous Twitter bot. He’s the president of the United States, the person in control of our military and our nuclear arsenal. He is a virulent racist, a documented, pathological liar and misogynist. He is unhinged.
The time has come to confront this menace head-on. Congress should take all necessary action to censure, impeach and remove the president.