President Donald Trump suggesting that some members of Congress should go back to the countries they came from demands widespread condemnation, but Republicans in Washington have unfortunately failed to give the issue the seriousness it deserves.
Trump on Sunday suggested that four of his most vocal critics — all women of color — should "go back" to their "broken and crime-infested" countries. The congresswomen are all American citizens, and just one was born outside the United States.
We saw the remarks for what they were — xenophobic and racist — and we became aware that white supremacist groups were celebrating the latest outrageous and divisive stance of the president of the United States.
And while many people immediately condemned Trump's remarks, most Republicans in Washington had little if anything to say about it. Their statements regarding Trump mainly trickled out 24 hours or more after the fact, and many of them used the opportunity to attack Washington Democrats while at the same time saying that Trump shouldn't have said what he said.
We give Rep. John Katko credit for being one of the few Republicans to say a discouraging word about Trump, but his brief statement on the matter was more about disagreeing with Democrats than disagreeing with racism.
To be specific, 23 of the 34 words in Katko's release referred to Democrats in a negative light; the other 11 were directed at Trump.
“The President’s tweets were wrong," he said. "I have vehemently criticized lawmakers on the far-left when I disagree with the direction in which they want to take the country – but criticism should focus on policy.”7i
And the tepid response from his own party appeared to embolden the president, who doubled-down on Monday by declaring that he wasn't the least bit concerned about his critics.
"It doesn't concern me because many people agree with me," he said. "A lot of people love it, by the way."
We're glad that Katko spoke up, but we wish he and others had expanded their remarks to explain why they believe Trump's remarks were wrong, and call on the president to apologize and do better. When the president acts downright unpresidential, it's up to members of Congress to keep him in check — regardless of party affiliation.
The Citizen editorial board includes interim publisher Thomas Salvo, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.