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Give us a break, Donald

On the Edge

On The Edge
Áine Ryan

WHY can’t Donald Trump just f**k off to Florida and play golf for the summer? Don’t we all need a break from all his racist clap-trap and meandering musings? Fine, let America come first, but that should be for all its citizens. Not just those with white skin and fundamentalist Christian fanaticism.
This latest storm was caused after the President of the United States posted a tweet on Sunday, July 14, telling four congresswomen of colour to go back to the countries ‘from which they came’.
Well, more precisely that they should ‘go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came’. He did not name the lawmakers in question. But the dogs on the street of Washington DC knew he was referring to the outspoken four leftwing freshman Democrats known as ‘The Squad’.
The tweet was not only racist, conforming to the tired old ‘go back to where you came from’ trope, it was ill informed. Three of the congresswomen were born in the US.
The four pains in Donald’s ass and new kids on Capitol Hill are Ayanna Presley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. And, interestingly, some of their views are so radical they are also clashing with the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Of course, that doesn’t mean she didn’t condemn Trump’s racist remarks and ensure it was put on the house record last week.   
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (29) is the youngest woman ever to serve in the US Congress and  a passionate advocate for progressive policies, including her flagship Green New Deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Rashida Tlaib (42) is the first Palestinian-American woman elected to Congress and one of its first Muslim women. She is also is a democratic socialist and supports such policies as a $15 per hour (€13.40) minimum wage.
A former refugee from Somalia, Ilhan Omar (37) moved to the US at the age of 12. Along with Tlaib, she became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress when she won Minnesota’s 5th District last November.
The fourth congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley (45) represents Massachusetts’ 7th District, which includes parts of Boston. A longtime aide to Senator John Kerry, she was the first black woman elected to Boston’s city council and is now the first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in the House of Representatives.
Okay, so those credentials prove that they may well be irksome to the Donald. But why did Kellyanne Conway, his advisor, have to wade into the middle of it?
Yes, Kellyanne Conway attempted to defend the indefensible after Andrew Feinberg, a journalist with pressed, her about the president’s latest controversial comments. He asked her which countries Trump was referring to when he posted the tweet about the congresswomen.
Ms Conway kind of lost the rag.
Referring to the president’s tweet, Feinberg asked: “If the president was not telling these four congresswoman to return to their supposed countries of origin, to which countries was he referring?”
A pretty simple question really but one that Conway decided – rather hotheadedly and stupidly – to answer with another question.
“What’s your ethnicity?” she demanded to know.
“My own ethnicity is not relevant to the question,” the reporter responded.
Of course, like Trump, she tried to backtrack on Twitter later by claiming she didn’t mean any disrespect.
“We are all from somewhere else ‘originally’. I asked the question to answer the question and volunteered my own ethnicity: Italian and Irish. Like many, I am proud of my ethnicity, love the USA & grateful to God to be an American.”
But the supreme irony in this latest debacle is that Conway’s husband, George, in his column in the Washington Post, called it as it is: ‘Trump is a racist president’. The conservative lawyer, who has been a regular critic of the president, recalled in the column how when he was a child his mother, an immigrant from the Philippines, had been told to ‘Go back to your country’.
“No matter how much I came to dislike him, I didn’t want to think that the president of the United States is a racial bigot,” Conway wrote, adding, “But Sunday left no doubt.”
Oh dear, it seems that even those whose spouses are Trump apologists need a holiday from his vitriol.