Republican members of Congress have had different responses to President Donald Trump’s overtly racist attack on four Democratic women in Congress: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — all of whom he told to go back to the countries they came from (three were born in the U.S., and all four are U.S. citizens). Many Republicans in Congress have avoided speaking out, while a minority of them have condemned Trump’s comments and some have passionately defended them. One of the defenders, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, was grilled by CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Tuesday and insisted that there was nothing racist about Trump’s comments.
Appearing on CNN, the Kentucky Republican acknowledged to Sciutto that Trump’s comments against the congresswomen “probably are divisive” as well as “politically incorrect” but stressed, “I do not take the comments as racist.” And Sciutto grilled Comer aggressively, asking him if he wants to live in a country where those who criticize a sitting president are asked to leave.
“This is a country founded on political disagreement and the right to express it,” Sciutto told Comer. And Comer responded that that Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar and Pressley “are the new face of the Democrat Party. They are trying to take the Democrat Party in a socialist direction.”
Sciutto shot back that the congresswomen are only four women among “more than 220” Democrats in Congress, where one finds a “diversity of opinion” among Democrats. Comer replied, “What I think the president was trying to imply was that if you’re not proud of America, if you do not want to stand when the National Anthem is being played — if you’re ashamed of the way that our country is operated — you’re more than welcome to leave the country.”
Sciutto quickly called out Comer’s hypocrisy, noting that when Trump appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s former show on Fox News, “The O’Reilly Factor,” in 2017, O’Reilly questioned him about his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin — and Trump said, “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
“That’s the sitting president of the United States comparing America to an authoritarian country, Russia,” Sciutto asserted. “That’s criticism. Does he hate America for making that comment?”
Comer gave an evasive response, saying, “I don’t think anyone in America would agree with 100% of what President Trump says. I don’t think anyone in America would agree with 100% of what any of the Democrats say.”
Asked if he would vote in favor of a Democratic House resolution denouncing Trump’s comments as racist, Comer told Sciutto that he was absolutely opposed to the resolution.
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‘Where’s Steve?’ Trump notices a right-wing ally missing from CNN — and wants him back on TV
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