On Sunday, July 14, President Donald Trump sent a series of tweets telling four non-White Congresswomen they should "go back" to their own countries.
All four are U.S. citizens.
His words were indefensible, but that didn't stop VP Mike Pence's Chief of Staff from trying to defend them on Fox News.
Though all citizenships are equal whether a citizen is born in this country or naturalized after immigrating to the U.S., it's worth noting that three of the four Congresswomen Trump targeted were born in this country, making it clear Trump's comments were based solely on their race.
The idea that only White people are "real Americans" is a White nationalist and White supremacist talking point. This is not the first time the President has quoted White nationalist rhetoric. His 2016 campaign slogan was borrowed from the Ku Klux Klan and White supremacist organizations.
When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to “Ma… https://t.co/3KpG5SSoBm— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1563113780.0
Obviously, saying that any U.S. citizen is somehow less "American" because they are not White is explicitly racist. Specifically telling minorities to "go back where they came from" is a well-recognized taunt from White supremacists.
Anyone who fails to recognize and acknowledge that is ignorant of the history and present of the United States or lying to themselves and others.
On Fox News, however, Marc Short said the President's comments were not racist.
Because one of Trump's cabinet members, Elaine Chao, is not White.
Here's Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff, defending Trump's racist tweets this morning by claiming that he can't h… https://t.co/Psgjl4MdCt— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz)1563193481.0
Marc Short, VP's CoS, pointed to Elaine Chao’s presence in the Trump Cabinet as evidence the President is not racis… https://t.co/O57IoNoXZW— Betsy Klein (@Betsy Klein)1563191728.0
@kaitlancollins Well, if his intent wasn't racist, what the hell was it?— Patricia 🌵 (@Patricia 🌵)1563194388.0
Short also attempted to make the case that the President's comments were only made about Ilhan Omar, who immigrated to America as a teenager.
This was an obvious lie.
“I’m making the case that this is not a universal statement that he’s making. He’s making it about the very specifi… https://t.co/i6yvJG6zPL— Betsy Klein (@Betsy Klein)1563191729.0
Short ignored questions on the other three Congresswomen who condemned the conditions of border detention facilitie… https://t.co/vmGRqhgzCK— Betsy Klein (@Betsy Klein)1563191730.0
@kaitlancollins Ilhan Omar was naturalized and immigrated the “right way” and was still told to go back to her country.— Giselle (@Giselle)1563192869.0
Twitter could't believe the White House has sunk so low that this was the defense of the President's words.
To rebut charges that Trump is racist, Marc Short Pence's chief of staff, notes "He has an Asian woman of color in… https://t.co/z6joPHGoeE— Daniel Benjamin (@Daniel Benjamin)1563209487.0
Trump can't be racist with a non-White person in his cabinet!"Some of my best friends...."
@MattGertz I'm surprised he didn't say "Some of @realDonaldTrump's best friends are black."— Brian Reddy (@Brian Reddy)1563194274.0
@MattGertz So we now get to use the “I can’t be racist because I have an Asian friend” excuse?— Myonlinealias ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 (@Myonlinealias ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜)1563195878.0
Short's lack of logic was clear for all to see.
@betsy_klein "Look, his crony's wife is in a minor cabinet position and Trump is often within twenty feet of her! T… https://t.co/k7LPCQBhpt— Brea Trant (@Brea Trant)1563194572.0
@MattGertz He also employs migrants- that doesn’t stop him from putting them in cages— Cheeto dust in the wind (@Cheeto dust in the wind)1563201647.0
Many people also doubted that Chao was hand-picked by Trump for her merits.
@MattGertz By the way, @SecElaineChao is only in his Cabinet as a favor to the Swamp Leader @senatemajldr— Pankaj Ramani (@Pankaj Ramani)1563195463.0
@MattGertz Geez, that’s a good one! Mitch McConnell’s wife as part of his administration 🤬. Gee, I wonder why?🤬— silvergirl (@silvergirl)1563200285.0
@fred_guttenberg @BLStrangfeld @senatemajldr He isn’t racist because of nepotism. Got it.— Opinionated_Eurasian (@Opinionated_Eurasian)1563209773.0
This was the best answer Short could come up with, even as Fox News gave him the easiest questions they could muster.
Note that Fox Business guest-host Dagen McDowell's questions are entirely about whether Trump's tweets were politic… https://t.co/IA6VFUnADT— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz)1563193700.0
Trumps words were racist.
@kaitlancollins We need to stop asking people if they think the tweets were racist they don’t get to define this. T… https://t.co/ALuOSt7JV6— jamsays (@jamsays)1563196761.0
@MattGertz There's no longer anything to defend. Trump is a racist. Let's move on.— Al Caida🍑🆘️ (@Al Caida🍑🆘️)1563193910.0
Many Americans still hope for a country whose leader doesn't strike out at citizens for the color of their skin.
And a "devoutly Christian" Vice President who doesn't blindly defend everything he does.
If you want to learn more about the White supremacy movement present in the United States, there are several books from people who left White nationalism behind.
The book Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist is available here.
"Derek Black grew up at the epicenter of white nationalism. His father founded Stormfront, the largest racist community on the Internet. His godfather, David Duke, was a KKK Grand Wizard. By the time Derek turned nineteen, he had become an elected politician with his own daily radio show - already regarded as the 'the leading light' of the burgeoning white nationalist movement. 'We can infiltrate,' Derek once told a crowd of white nationalists. 'We can take the country back'."
To understand why talking about and even acknowledging racism is difficult for many people, the critically acclaimed book White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism is available here.
"Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively."
And if you want a definitive history of the rise of White supremacy and White nationalism, the book White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide, is available here.
"Since 1865 and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, every time African Americans have made advances towards full participation in our democracy, white reaction has fueled a deliberate and relentless rollback of their gains. The end of the Civil War and Reconstruction was greeted with the Black Codes and Jim Crow; the Supreme Court's landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision was met with the shutting down of public schools throughout the South while taxpayer dollars financed segregated white private schools; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 triggered a coded but powerful response, the so-called Southern Strategy and the War on Drugs that disenfranchised millions of African Americans while propelling presidents Nixon and Reagan into the White House, and then the election of America's first black President, led to the expression of white rage that has been as relentless as it has been brutal."