Explain why he opposed a resolution condemning Donald Trump inflammatory remarks about “progressive” democratic congressional women, “minority parliamentary leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the president’s tweets were not racist. “Let’s not be wrong about what’s going on here today,” McCarthy Recount journalists. “It is a matter of politics and beliefs about the ideologies of individuals.”

All does a lot of work in this sentence. McCarthy is apparently referring to both Trump’s tweets and the reaction to them. Let’s take these one at a time.

This is what Trump tweeted Sunday morning:

So interesting to see “progressive” democratic women in Congress, from countries whose governments are a complete and utter disaster, the worst, most corrupt and most inept in the world (if they even have a functioning government). ), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help mend the totally broken and crime-infested places where they come from. Then come back and show us how it’s done. These places are in dire need of your help, you cannot leave fast enough. I’m sure Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to find free travel arrangements quickly!

Trump did not name the congressional women he had in mind. But based on the reference to the friction with Pelosi, people have widely assumed he was talking about Reps Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). All four are darker in complexion than Donald Trump, which would generally not be enough to properly accuse a politician of racism when he overtly criticizes the views of his political opponents. But Trump’s bizarre suggestion that these four American citizens “return” to the countries they “originally came from” complicates McCarthy’s position a bit, especially since that country is the United States for all but Omar, who emigrated from Somalia when she was 10 years old. old woman.

At best, Trump is guilty of senseless chauvinism to love or leave. And given that it draws on a fanatic trope with a long, sad history in the United States, the racism imputation is hard to dismiss. The evidence for this is at least as strong as the evidence that Omar revealed her anti-Semitism when she complained that “Israel hypnotized the world”, noted Congressional support for Israel “is all about the baby Benjamins” (alluding to the financial influence of Jewish donors), and lamented “The political influence in this country that says it’s okay for people to swear allegiance to a foreign country.”

Omar said she was unaware that his comments, which last March inspired a House resolution who broadly condemned sectarianism without mentioning it by name, could be interpreted as anti-Jewish, and it apologized “unequivocal” for the second. Trump could try a similar defense, except that he wholeheartedly approve the accusation of anti-Semitism against Omar and other critics of Israel.

“When will the women in Congress of the radical left apologize to our country, the people of Israel and even the president’s office, for the foul language they used and the terrible things they said” said the president request yesterday. “So many people are angry with them and their horrible and disgusting actions!” It added, “If Democrats want to unite around the foul language and racist hatred being spat out of the mouths and the actions of these very unpopular and unrepresentative women in Congress, it will be interesting to see how that plays out. I can tell you. that they made Israel feel abandoned by the United States. ”In other words: I’m not a fanatic; you are beautiful a fanatic.

To which the Anti-Defamation League, which strongly criticized Omar for his “anti-Semitic tweets” replied: Please leave us out of this. “As Jews, we know all too well this kind of prejudice that divides” noted ADL National Director Jonathan Greenblatt. “While the ADL publicly disagrees with these women in Congress on certain issues, the president echoes the racist remarks of white nationalists and cynically uses the Jewish people and the State of Israel as a shield to double down on his remarks. supporting Israel and making accusations of anti-Semitism is detrimental to the security of Israel and the Jewish community. He should lead by example, stop politicizing these issues and stop slandering members of Congress.

It’s no surprise that Democrats who for years have portrayed Trump as a puppet of white supremacists consider his latest racist remarks. But contrary to what McCarthy suggests, they’re not the only ones drawing this conclusion.

“I am convinced that every member of Congress is a committed American,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) tweeted yesterday. “@RealDonaldTrump’s tweets this weekend were racist and he should apologize. We have to work as a country to overcome hate, not allow it.”

Representative Will Hurd (R-Texas) called Trump’s “racist and xenophobic” words. I guess Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), A critic of Trump who is no longer republican, doesn’t count, but it appears he was the first non-Democrat congressman to condemn the president’s comments. “Telling these American citizens (most of whom were born here) to ‘return’ to the ‘crime-infested places they came from’ is racist and disgusting,” he added. tweeted Sunday morning. Even Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a Trump critic turned sycophant, thought the president should “aim higher” with his rhetoric.

So yes, much of the response to Trump’s remarks is “about politics” – not just the predictable partisanship of the Democrats, but also the fear of Republicans who are keen to avoid offending Trump fans. But it’s not all on politics. A few sitting Republican lawmakers are always ready to publicly defend the bizarre idea that the president should try not to engage in ad hominem inflammatory attacks on his political opponents. We suspect (or perhaps hope it’s more like that) that others share this view but are too afraid to speak out as members of a party that has been taken over by Trump and his supporters.

As is often the case with Trump, it’s hard to tell if he’s really distraught or if he’s pretending to be. “We will never be a socialist or a communist country,” he said tweeted yesterday. “IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE YOU CAN GO!” Today it amplified this point: “Our country is free, beautiful and very successful. If you hate our country, or if you are not happy here, you can go! It added: “These Tweets were NOT racist. I don’t have racist bones in my body!”

Clarifying his message to reporters yesterday, Trump noted, “If you’re not happy here, you can go. As far as I am concerned, if you hate our country, if you are not happy here, you can leave… If you are not happy in the US, if you complain all the time, very simply, you can leave . You can leave immediately. Come back if you want; don’t come back. It’s OK too. But if you are not happy, you can leave. “

We understood. But no matter how many times the President says it, and setting aside any inference of racism, it remains a silly retort to those who criticize current American policy, as any American has every right to do, even while staying in the United States. Trump himself led the way in the White House by describing America as “a laughing stock” (something he said again), decrying the “american carnage“left by his predecessors, and promising to Make America Great Again, implying that she is no longer so tall. It would have been absurd to tell him to shut up or” return “to Germany if he hates this country so much , and it is no less absurd to use a similar line against critics with different political views.

I feel a little silly even to have to say this, but such is the state of what currently passes for a political debate in this country. Maybe I should go back to Poland, or maybe to Israel.

Update: the House resolution condemning Trump’s “racist comments” pass today by 240 votes against 187. Four republicans joined 235 Democrats and Amash voting for the measure: Hurd plus Representatives Susan Brooks (Ind.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) And Fred Upton (Michigan). Turner, despite his criticism, voted no.

[I’ve corrected the list of Republicans, which initially named the wrong Brooks.]