‘1950s racism straight from the White House’: Trump’s tweets revolt politicians around the world

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LONDON — Lawmakers and commentators around the world expressed shock and disgust Monday after President Trump targeted Democratic minority congresswomen in a series of tweets over the weekend and told them to “go back” to their countries.

On U.S. soil, the tweets prompted outrage, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) branding Trump’s string of remarks as “xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” and Democrats defending those believed to be at the center of Trump’s fury: Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.).

While Republicans remained overwhelmingly silent, lawmakers around the world were not.

British politician David Lammy branded Trump’s comments “1950s racism straight from the White House” and called for Boris Johnson, who is in the running to replace Theresa May as prime minister, to condemn the remarks.

On Monday, May, who has just days left in office, condemned the tweets.

“The prime minister’s view is that the language used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable,” a Downing Street spokesman said.

May’s sharp rebuke of the president has put pressure on other lawmakers, especially Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, who is also vying for her job, to condemn the tweets. Both men have been silent so far.

May’s condemnation comes after a tense week between Britain and the United States with the special (or not-so-special) relationship at a new low.

“The President of the United States telling elected politicians – or any other Americans for that matter – to ‘go back’ to other countries is not OK, and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly,” tweeted First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.

Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor who was born and raised in the city and has frequently clashed with Trump, told a British radio station that this is the type of language he’s heard for much of his life — though never from such a source.

“I’ve heard it from racists and fascists. Never from a mainstream politician,” he said. “Here you have the president of the U.S.A. using that same sort of language.”

The outrage came from outside Britain as well.

“Trump’s racism is sickening. Any European politician who fails to condemn this has questions to answer & should be ashamed of themselves,” wrote Belgian politician Guy Verhofstadt.

In Germany, commentators condemned Trump’s remarks on Monday. To rely on “ugly sentiments,” wrote the Süeddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper, has “long become part of his strategy.”

Trump’s tweets, the paper wrote, were so “clearly racist, that a debate over their content are a waste of time.”

German news outlet Der Spiegel echoed those comments. In a commentary on its website, the publication said that Trump was now relying on an “even more overt and blunt racism” than ahead of the 2016 elections.

Rick Noack in Berlin contributed to this report.





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