Not even anti-immigrant groups are defending Trump’s ‘go back’ tweets

Over the weekend, the president set off a firestorm of media coverage with a trio of tweets telling “’Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” to return to their home countries.

The tweets were largely believed to be directed at “the squad” comprising Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). All four are minorities; though only one was born outside of the United States. Telling people of color to “go home” is a common racist trope.

Reactions to Trump’s tweets were nearly universally negative. #RacistPresident trended for more than 24 hours on Twitter. Many in his base were appalled; others chose to remain silent, including most anti-immigrant hate groups.

Some, of course, rushed to the president’s defense, arguing that what he said wasn’t racist, but even if it was, maybe it was just a strategic move to either tear Democrats apart or make people stop talking about the Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids scheduled to begin this weekend.

Other prominent conservative mouthpieces willingly criticized Trump.

In a thread, National Review senior writer David A. French tweeted, “I can think of few worse things for the soul of the GOP or the health and unity of our republic than adopting a strategy of ‘be racist to own the libs.’” French later penned a popular thread defending immigrants for the “courage and grit” that it takes to become citizens of the United States.

As the fallout continued, many noted the deafening wall of silence among Republican members of Congress.

After spending the day golfing with Trump and Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) found the time to blame Obama for creating ISIS. On Fox & Friends this morning Graham said the president should focus on policy, then called the four congresswomen “communists” who hate America.

He was largely alone in his support of the president’s statements. Even Trump’s biggest fans like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were mum on the “go back” to your country tweets.

Most surprising was the near-total silence from anti-immigrant hate groups.

Of those with active Twitter accounts who are identified as anti-immigrant hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACT for America was the only one the Daily Dot found that defended Trump’s tweets.

Among those choosing to remain silent, in some instances while continuing to tweet anti-immigrant screeds, were Federation for American Immigration Reform, Immigration Reform Law InstituteCenter for Immigration Studies, and David Horowitz.

Nevertheless, Trump later doubled down on the statements.

READ MORE:

Got five minutes? We’d love to hear from you. Help shape our journalism and be entered to win an Amazon gift card by filling out our 2019 reader survey.

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.