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Trump's bigoted tweets make it clear where he's coming from

Among those targeted in President Donald Trump's tweets

Among those targeted in President Donald Trump's tweets Sunday were Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, seen Friday. Credit: EPA / Erik S. Lesser

Trump rewinds a hate classic

"Go back to where you came from."

It's a taunt that's been hurled by haters for generations at people who didn't look, sound or pray the same as them. Italian immigrants were among the targets a century ago. Racist mobs spat it out at black children arriving to integrate all-white schools in the 1950s.

On Sunday, on Donald Trump's Twitter account, the epithet became a presidential statement. "So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world … now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States … how our government is to be run,” he tweeted.

“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.”

The nativist diatribe appeared aimed at the four progressive Democratic House women of color known as "the squad" who have become lightning rods for conservatives and clashed with more moderate members of their own party.

Only one is foreign-born: Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a Somali refugee who reached the U.S. at age 10. The others are Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose parents were American, too, from Puerto Rico; Detroit native Rashida Tlaib, whose parents were Palestinian immigrants; and Ayanna Pressley, an African-American who was born in Cincinnati, raised in Chicago and represents a Boston-area district.

All fired back. "You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder," tweeted Ocasio-Cortez. Given Trump's history, attacking racial or ethnic minorities as less than American is no aberration. To name two: the Indiana-born "Mexican" judge in a suit against Trump University, and Barack Obama, who Trump falsely insinuated wasn't U.S.-born. 

Will Trump attack unite Democrats?

For a day at least, Democrats closed ranks and outrage over Trump's tweets drowned out an increasingly ugly intraparty feud that has taken on its own racial overtones.

Progressives attacked Democrats not as far to the left, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for going along with an emergency funding bill for the border. After Pelosi minimized the influence of "the squad," Ocasio-Cortez accused the speaker of "singling out" four women of color, with a caveat that she was not calling her racist.

Mainstream members, blacks and Latinos included, stood with Pelosi and hit back at Ocasio-Cortez for suggesting a racial motive. Then Pressley upped the ante Saturday, saying the party doesn’t need “any more black faces that don’t want to be a black voice.”

On Sunday, Democrats of all stripes condemned Trump's tweets, including Pelosi. “When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again," the speaker tweeted. "Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) said: “I’ve been trying to figure out how to bring everybody together — I think the president just did that for us.” Republicans were quiet, but Michigan's Rep. Justin Amash, who just quit the GOP, called Trump's remarks "racist and disgusting."

Chill precedes ICE raids

Immigrant communities around New York and across the nation were on edge Sunday, the day Trump and administration officials said they would begin raids to round up 2,000 of the undocumented. 

None were reported in New York City or on Long Island. Residents and merchants in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park said many immigrants are afraid to leave their homes because they fear they will detained by ICE, and that others have left the area to stay with friends or family elsewhere until the raids end.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said ICE agents went to locations in Sunset Park and Harlem on Saturday but came away empty-handed. See Newsday's story by Michael O'Keeffe and Scott Eidler.

Janison: POTUS pirouettes

Clumsy about-faces have become a Trump hallmark, writes Newsday's Dan Janison.

Last year, Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, California, tipped off constituents about planned federal immigration raids. Trump called this a “disgrace.” But on Friday, Trump announced ICE operations to round up undocumented immigrants were about to begin. “If the word gets out, it gets out," Trump said. 

In 2002, Trump told New York magazine that since-convicted sex predator Jeffrey Epstein was a “terrific guy” whom he had known for 15 years. But in the wake of Epstein's new arrest for alleged sex-trafficking with underage girls, Trump spun it differently.

He just knew Epstein “like everybody in Palm Beach knew him.” Trump went: "I had a falling out with him. I haven’t spoken to him in 15 years. I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you.” The two statements don't necessarily conflict. But the president wasn't about to connect the dots on a timeline between "fun to be with" and "not a fan."

Unexcused absence?

De Blasio was catching heat even before Saturday's Manhattan power failure for presidential campaign travels that take him away from the city. 

“It’s not just about managing crises, it’s about managing and preparing the city for the future. And it’s hard to do that from the cornfields of Iowa," city Comptroller Scott Stringer said prior to the blackout, in Emily Ngo's timely story for Newsday.

De Blasio was in Iowa when the lights went out on Broadway Saturday night. Back in the city Sunday, the mayor said he had his "hand on the wheel" and "even from where I was, I was able to do that right away," reports Newsday's Matthew Chayes and O'Keeffe.

He's not the only Democratic presidential candidate juggling a day job as a sitting elected official. There are seven U.S. senators, three U.S. House members, two governors and two other mayors.

What else is happening:

  • Newly revealed diplomatic cables from Britain's now-departed ambassador to Washington, Kim Darroch, concluded Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal to spite Obama, London's Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.
  • Trump has no apologies for the conditions seen in a border detention center that Vice President Mike Pence visited Friday. While "crowded," Trump tweeted that they were "clean," disregarding reporters' accounts of the stench from migrants unable to take showers.
  • Islip officials have sided with an Oakdale resident who displays a 10-foot Trump sign on his front lawn despite objections from neighbors, reports Newsday's Antonio Planas.
  • After largely ignoring his Democratic rivals early in his campaign, Joe Biden is starting to call them out, The New York Times reported. That included taking on Bernie Sanders' acknowledgment that his Medicare for All plan would raise taxes for the middle class. Sanders says those taxpayers would see health care costs reduced.
  • A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of possible matchups against Trump shows Biden leading by 9 points, Sanders ahead by 7 points and Elizabeth Warren with a 5-point margin. Kamala Harris' edge over Trump was just 1 point.

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