July 17, 2019

House Condemns Trump

“The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to condemn President Donald Trump for ‘racist comments’ against four minority Democratic congresswomen.” Reuters

See our prior coverage of Trump’s comments here. The Flip Side

See past issues

From the Left

The left is extremely critical of Trump’s tweets, and believes they are symptomatic of a strategy that marginalizes minorities and immigrants.

“[Trump has] talked a lot about who shouldn’t be in America… Here are a few groups Trump has suggested should not be in the country. 1. NFL players who protest during the national anthem… 2. Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean… 3. Muslims who want to come here… One could argue that calling for elected representatives, all of whom are minorities, to go back to countries they aren’t actually from is more blatantly problematic than the previous examples. But they are certainly part of a pattern for Trump, setting a standard for removal he doesn’t seem to apply to white people.”
Eugene Scott, Washington Post

“At the core of the strategy is Trump’s consistent drumbeat of equating the white European immigrant experience with the American ideal, setting those on his side of the divide against the politically correct elites, outsiders, immigrants or nonwhites who he implies are unfairly threatening what is good about the country.”
Michael Scherer, Washington Post

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) writes, “President Trump has often crossed the line of what constitutes decent behavior. But this time feels different, because he is now attacking legal immigration and U.S. citizenship. His statements on Sunday and since then imply that immigrants are somehow less loyal to our country, less American, and that we should ‘go back’ or ‘leave’ if we disagree with him… The suspicion that immigrants are not to be trusted or are unpatriotic is not just wrong; it is un-American. And dangerous…

“The problem for the president is that many Americans are immigrants or have friends or family members who are immigrants. The American people continue to support newcomers. A Gallup poll last year found that 75 percent of Americans believe immigration is good for the country. The American people understand that what makes the nation great is not people’s bloodlines or how long ago their ancestors arrived here, but their character and belief in the Constitution.”
Ted Lieu, Washington Post

Some argue, “a great number of Americans in both parties have little sympathy for the Squad, and for all kinds of reasons, ranging from simple racism, Islamophobia and misogyny, to genuine policy disagreements, to unhappiness with the bigotry and insensitivity that members of the Squad have themselves sometimes displayed. Almost everyone has a reason to temper their support. Professional Republicans are silent because they fear their voters; professional Democrats are still angry at the Squad for challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Many are inclined to declare a pox on both their houses…

“Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of equivocation. Trump has given us a binary choice: Either stand with American principles, which in this case means standing in defense of the Squad, or equivocate, which means standing with Trump and white nationalism… Our nation won’t be undermined by anything the Squad has said or done. It will be undermined if we don’t fight back against this assault on our universal principles. Disagree with the Squad, refute them, argue with them, vote against them. But also defend them.”
Robert Kagan, Washington Post

Others counter, “A politician accused of anti-Semitism. Someone who has been critical of the United States and its leaders, often in strong terms. Who advocates positions outside the American mainstream. Who swears. These characteristics, President Trump argues, are ones that contribute to his labeling Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and several of her colleagues as ‘anti-USA,’ as he did Tuesday morning. They are also characteristics that describe Trump…

“Omar has, in fact, been critical of U.S. politics. Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported on her unique approach to the country’s politics and culture, noting that she has offered criticism of her adopted country, which ‘had failed to live up to its founding ideals, a place that had disappointed her and so many immigrants, refugees and minorities like her’… [But] Trump has his own track record of much more direct criticism of the United States. While Barack Obama was president, Trump declared that political correctness had led the United States to lose ‘all sense of direction or purpose.’ That ‘our country and our ‘leaders’ are getting dumber all the time.’ That the country had become ‘stupid.’ That the country had never looked ‘weaker or more pathetic’... What has Ilhan Omar done that Donald Trump hasn’t?”
Philip Bump, Washington Post

“James Baldwin famously said, ‘I love America more than any other country in this world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.’ As immigrants, we often come to America because we love it more than the place we are leaving… We come to make a better life for ourselves, certainly, but also because we believe in the idea of America. Our optimism about what this nation can be is not naive, it's aspirational and visionary. Among our masses lies the same fervor that our founding fathers brought here: a fervor for a democracy that represents our interests. When we run for office, the potential we have to make government work for all of us is one that true Americans welcome. Trump is afraid that we do not huddle in fear but stride in power.”
Sayu Bhojwani, CNN

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right disapproves of Trump’s tweets but disagrees that they were racist, and criticizes comments made by the ‘squad’ of progressive Democratic Congresswomen.

From the Right

The right disapproves of Trump’s tweets but disagrees that they were racist, and criticizes comments made by the ‘squad’ of progressive Democratic Congresswomen.

“Trump’s remarks about the four were misinformed and unseemly, coming from a president, but they are not racist. Trump didn’t suggest that the four congressional rads leave America because of their race or national origin. He offered the suggestion because of their hatred, as he sees it… for America. This couldn’t be clearer. There are other ‘minority lawmakers’ who oppose Trump’s policies. He did not suggest, and has never suggested, that they leave America…

“Trump’s statement isn’t from the anti-immigrant playbook. It’s from the ‘America, love it or leave it’ playbook. This doesn’t mean his statement was appropriate, coming from the American president, but it does mean it wasn’t anti-immigrant. Trump is fine with immigrants as long as (1) they are here legally and (2) they don’t hate America.”
Paul Mirengoff, Power Line Blog

“Donald Trump tweeting that the leftist non-white women in the House of Representatives loosely known as ‘The Squad’ should go back to the countries they came from and fix the problems there, then come back and show us how they did it, is a prime example of how different Americans define racism differently… While once we had, or thought we had, some fairly firm definitions for racist activity or speech, most having to do with intent or belief, we now have an ‘I know it when I see it’ standard… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden have both recently been accused of racism, or engaging in racist tropes, or whatever we’re calling it now… Racism has become the new pornography. We know it when we see it.”
David Marcus, The Federalist

“Words matter. Especially emotionally loaded words such as ‘racist.’ That’s why it is so frustrating to see President Trump’s awful, inexcusable tweets telling Democratic congresswomen to ‘go back’ to other countries mischaracterized as racist. Race and nationality are not the same thing. Race and ethnicity are not even the same thing. Race and religion are far from synonymous. Likewise, racism is not the same thing as xenophobia, or as nativism, or as bigotry. Racism is a form of bigotry, but not all bigotry is racism…

“When words are over-used or misused, they lose their power. That’s why we all learn the story of the boy who cried wolf. If ‘racism’ is used to refer to everything that is seen as bad and as seen as having anything to do with ‘other-ness,’ people start tuning it out. Because it is used to mean so many things, it begins to mean nothing. Its horribleness then becomes more difficult, not less, to recognize and counteract. Trump’s tweets were wrong because they were nativist and arguably bigoted. To say that is to say enough.”
Quin Hillyer, Washington Examiner

Some, however, contend that Trump’s “commentary calls to mind the same kinds of dark, xenophobic, hatred that has greeted new Americans since there were new Americans, and, while it certainly continues to this day, it isn’t a sentiment most Americans are used to hearing from their President… The story of America is written in the blood, sweat, tears and – certainly – perspectives, opinions, and hard work of immigrants. We are a nation where anyone can become an American, and on becoming so is held in the same standing as any other. When we disparage immigrants – or our political enemies, or both – as less than their fellow Americans, we do a disservice to the very idea of America, and the ideals that make our country great.”
Drew Holden, The Resurgent

“On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift… On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most politically self-destructive ways possible…

“First, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota again called for impeaching President Trump during the press conference with the members of the “Squad” yesterday afternoon. The latest NBC News poll finds that just 21 percent of registered voters want the House to begin impeachment proceedings… Second, Omar also contended Trump ‘has been credibly accused of committing multiple crimes, including colluding with a foreign government to interfere with our election.’ Did she miss the entire Mueller report? Or does she think that Trump did collude and that over 22 months, Robert Mueller and his whole team of investigators and prosecutors just missed the evidence?”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“Since even before Pelosi took back the speaker’s gavel in 2018, she has been begging her Democratic colleagues to drop the impeachment fantasy. She has been clear about this since Trump's inauguration, saying over and over again that it is not the strategy to pursue, especially as the 2020 elections are just around the corner. Yet Omar and Tlaib called for it anyway on national television, stoking the fire of impeachment and challenging fellow Democrats to get behind an issue that Pelosi has explicitly instructed the caucus to drop…

It is astonishing to see they did not band together for at least 48 hours, taking full advantage of the political win Trump handed them. One would think that they would have rallied together, putting their strategic and personal differences aside long enough to refocus their attention and energy on a common enemy.”
Becket Adams, Washington Examiner

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

Outside Hong Kong, the silence Is deafening… Some protesters in Hong Kong today are adopting the British Union Jack flag, the American flag and the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ as symbols, yet that doesn’t seem to have stirred our collective imaginations… Americans are preoccupied with fighting each other over political correctness, gun violence, Trump and the Democratic candidates for president. To be sure, those issues deserve plenty of attention. But they are soaking up far too much emotional energy, distracting attention from the all-important struggles for liberty around the world…

“It’s 2019, and the land of the American Revolution, a country whose presidents gave stirring speeches about liberty and freedom in Berlin during the Cold War, remains in a complacent slumber. It really is time to Make America Great Again — if only we could remember what that means.”
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg

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