“If you’re not happy here, then you can leave. As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave,” Trump declared on Monday afternoon, speaking to reporters after a Made In America showcase outside the White House.
President Trump: “If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you complain all the time, very simply – you can leave. You can leave right now.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 15, 2019
He rejected the insinuations that his tweets were racist, saying that it was Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who made a “very racist statement” by claiming he wants to “Make America white again.”
The president’s tweets were widely understood as a reference to the “Squad” of Progressive Caucus freshman representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts). Of the four, only Omar is foreign-born.
They’re very unhappy, I’m watching them, all they do is complain.
Though he did not name names in the original tweetstorm, Trump did single out two of the congresswomen on Monday. He took issue with Ocasio-Cortez for the “terrible thing she did” by scuttling the deal between New York City and Amazon – the company of his outspoken critic, Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos – and cost the city tens of thousands of jobs.
He saved the heavy guns for Omar, however, accusing the Somali-American congresswoman of anti-Semitism and support for Al-Qaeda terrorists.
“When I hear people speaking about how wonderful Al Qaeda is, when I hear people talking about ‘some people’ with the World Trade Center,” Trump said, referring to Omar. “She left Somalia, and now she’s a congresswoman who’s never happy. Says horrible things about Israel, hates Jews.”
The president brushed off questions about whether he’s concerned his words could be interpreted as racist, and rebuked one of the reporters who tried to shout a question while he spoke.
“Politicians can’t be afraid to take them on,” he said when asked about whether his tweets were appropriate. “If weak politicians want to gear their wagons around those four people, I think they’ll have a very tough election.”
These are people who hate our country. They hate it, I think, with a passion.
His remarks were met with repeated applause by the representatives of manufacturers from all 50 US states, set against a backdrop of their products ranging from hot sauce to a THAAD missile defense system. Trump also needled the press for not asking any questions about domestic manufacturing, having praised the economy under his administration as one of the best ever.