President Donald Trump caused yet another racial controversy over the weekend when, on Twitter, he told four Democratic congresswoman of color to go back to the countries they came from. The comments were obviously directed at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Ayanna Pressley — all of whom are U.S. citizens, and three of whom were born in the United States (Omar was born in Somalia). Appearing on CNN on Monday morning, former Republican Rep. Mia Love (an African-American conservative) expressed some frustration over Trump’s comments but was reluctant to come right out and call them racist.
“I don’t think that the comments help his narrative,” Love told Frank Bruni and Alisyn Camerota of CNN. “I’m incredibly frustrated. I continue to be frustrated. I tell my children not to look at these comments, not to behave or react to them. They have to be empowered and not let anybody determine who they are and how they are going to behave or what history writes about them.”
Love was asked if anyone has ever told her to go back to the country she came from. And Love responded, “Oh, gosh. The country I came from was the United States, the country I was born in.”
Love went on to say, “This is what I would tell these women. First of all, I know Ayanna Pressley very well. I don’t know the others. Ayanna and I have worked with each other before, actually, I became a member of Congress. I can tell you one thing about Ayanna: this is not going to be something that affects her. People have said horrible things, worse than that, to me.”
CNN’s Bianna Golodryga also appeared in the segment —and was much more forceful and direct in her comments.
“Let’s stop dancing around this issue,” Golodryga declared. “It’s a racist comment. It’s a racist comment any time somebody says, ‘Go back to the country from which you came.’”
Golodryga, who was born in Moldova, noted that more than once, she has been told to “go back to Russia.”
Love grew defensive when Bruni pressed her and spoke out against Republicans who are refusing to condemn Trump’s racist attack on the members of Congress. Bruni asserted, “Republicans are not silent because they find this subject matter icky. They are silent because they are making a political calculation, and this is pure cowardice. And we have to talk about it that way because to take about it any other way is to let them off the hook.”
Bruni went on to say, “I don’t think that Republicans in Congress think that racism is a winning strategy for them. I think they don’t want to cross the president even if they tacitly condone racism.”