Jul 28, 2019

Obama shares ex-staffers' op-ed accusing Trump of poisoning democracy

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama shared Saturday a Washington Post op-ed by his former staffers, which criticizes President Donald Trump for his treatment of minority groups and for derogatory comments about 4 congresswomen of color.

"We stand with [the] congresswomen ... as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump, along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here — and who does not. ... We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy."
— Obama former staffers, Washington Post op-ed

Why it matters: It's unusual for Obama to comment on current politics. Former presidents have traditionally refrained from criticizing successors, regardless of party affiliations.

  • The op-ed was published the same day as Trump slammed Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and called the majority-black Baltimore-area district he represents a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess."

The big picture: The op-ed, co-signed by 149 African Americans who served in Obama's administration, addresses Trump's "go back" attacks on Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.):

"Go back where you came from. Go back to Africa. And now, 'send her back.' Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online. ...
"Witnessing racism surge in our country, both during and after Obama’s service and ours, has been a shattering reality. ... But it has also provided jet-fuel for our activism, especially in moments such as these."

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Warren: Trump's tweets on Baltimore and Cummings are ugly and racist

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told reporters Saturday that President Trump's tweets about Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and the Baltimore-area district he represents are "ugly and racist."

The big picture: Trump doubled down on his earlier attacks on Cummings and the majority-black Baltimore-area district — which he called a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" — retweeting fellow Republicans, who said "[t]his has nothing to do with race." Warren told Fox News that Trump's tweets were "part of his overall pattern of trying to stir up as much hatred and dissension in America as possible."

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Keep ReadingArrowJul 28, 2019

Trump meets with African American pastors amid accusations of racism

Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

President Trump broadened his Twitter attacks on leading black figures Monday to include the Rev. Al Sharpton, as conservative African American pastors defended him from claims that he's racist following a meeting with him.

Why it matters: Trump has faced growing accusations of racism for targeting lawmakers of color and repeatedly lashing out at Rep. Elijah Cummings on Twitter and the majority-black Baltimore-area district he represents, notably calling it "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess."

Go deeperArrowJul 30, 2019

Trump plants racial explosives in the urban-rural divide

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's onslaught of disparaging tweets calling Baltimore a "disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" — and characterizing Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings as failing to fix it — extends Trump's streak of vilifying big American cities and adds a racial spin that scores points with parts of his base.

The big picture: Cities, particularly coastal ones, are Democratic strongholds that have been protesting Trump policies like immigration and health care since day one of his administration.

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019