The four freshman congresswomen President Donald Trump told to leave the US if they didn’t like it have hit back with a grandstanding press conference, feeding the #Resistance back its own warmed-over talking points.
Denouncing “the most recent xenophobic bigoted remarks from the occupant of the White House” – and stressing that “I will always refer to him as the occupant, because he is only occupying space” – Rep. Ayana Pressley (D-Mass.) urged Americans “to not take the bait” during the Monday press conference, calling Trump’s comments “a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people.”
Pressley followed up with some alternative bait for Americans to take, hammering the “children in a cage” meme that has dominated the discourse for weeks – even though, as the president and his defenders have pointed out, those “cages” and the policies that filled them were instituted by Trump’s predecessors. Nor did she stop at advocating for better treatment for illegals – she dismissed the very concept of illegal immigration, decrying the “criminalizing, vilifying, mass detention and deportation of migrant families” exercising their “human right” to seek asylum in the US. “If we improve the conditions of children in a cage, they are still in a cage.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) had her own go at discredited anti-Trump talking points and hyperbole. After a ceremonial whack at the dead horse of Russian collusion, she claimed Trump “has equated neo-Nazis with those who protest against them in Charlottesville.” The only solution to Trump’s divisiveness, she declared, was impeachment – an opinion all four women appeared to share.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) slammed Trump for “challenging” her inspirational message to children “across this country: no matter what the president says, this country belongs to you.” Taking on Trump’s directive to “love it or leave it,” Ocasio-Cortez declared, “We don’t leave the things we love.” While admitting that “all of this is a distraction,” she nevertheless allowed herself to be distracted from the causes of universal healthcare and college education, neither of which got more than a few words from her despite the claim that they were her focus.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan) declared she’d been sent to Washington by one of the poorest districts in the country to fight the “corporate assault and corruption” – but would instead focus on holding the Trump administration accountable for the “inhumane conditions at the border.”
Supporters of the “squad” set #RacistPresident and #ImpeachNow trending, enraptured by the “strong women” “leading the battle to preserve whatever soul this country has left.”
Trump supporters countered with their own hashtags, many dwelling on Omar’s refusal to explicitly condemn Al Qaeda when asked. Her reasoning for that was that it wasn’t worth dignifying with a response, since white people weren’t expected to explicitly condemn every white mass murderer.
And Trump saw the all-consuming focus on the “progressives” as a victory, since it forced the rest of the Democratic party to come to their defense and shored up his own support within the Republican party to 94 percent – an all-time high.