The tweet was “nativist,” “xenophobic” and maybe even an “unforced error.”
But it certainly wasn’t racist, according to President Trump’s favorite news network.
If you’ve been watching Fox News or following its commentators the past 24 hours, that’s the impression you may have absorbed about Trump’s widely condemned remarks suggesting four congresswomen of color should go back to the countries they came from, never mind the fact that three of the four were born in the U.S.
The President’s favorite network has effectively tied itself in knots describing Trump’s tweet, and his ensuing remarks, as anything but racist — which is how it’s been described by Democrats, the media and even some Republicans.
Fox News political analyst Brit Hume was dragged across Twitter on Monday for arguing that while Trump’s tweet was “nativist, xenophobic, counterfactual and politically stupid,” it certainly was not “racist.” After considerable backlash, Hume tweeted out a link to a dictionary definition of racism, noting he agrees with the first entry, which describes it as a “belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”
Trump’s “go back” comments were nativist, xenophobic, counterfactul and politically stupid. But they simply do not meet the standard definition of racist, a word so recklessly flung around these days that its actual meaning is being lost.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 15, 2019
Fox News host Laura Ingraham described Trump’s rhetoric as an “unforced error” — an “error” strictly because Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) were all born in the U.S.
“Yes, the President made an unforced error, I would say that, and that tweet telling the women to go back to places from which they came — three of the four were born in America,” she said. “But the idea that he’s hitting them because they’re people or women of color is absurd. Who doesn’t Trump hit? He was hitting Paul Ryan last week. He’s hitting them because their views in his mind and the mind of millions of Americans are insanely radical.”
Ingraham also deflected to comments one of the lawmakers, Pressley, made over the weekend about LGBT people and people of color using their voice to represent their communities, arguing if “anyone sounded racist,” it was Pressley.
“If you’re not prepared to come to that table and to represent that voice, don’t come. Because we don’t need any brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice,” Pressley said over the weekend. “We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.”
Ingraham: Trump tweet was just "unforced error," not racist pic.twitter.com/wYyljrORbY
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 16, 2019
During Fox News’ “The Five” on Monday evening, at least two of the panelists argued that Trump’s tweets were clearly not about race. Co-host Greg Gutfeld pointed out that Trump’s initial tweet said “why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”
“So how many racists say leave, then please come back and help us? I’d say probably zero,” he said.
Panelist Jesse Watters — who often makes light of the political differences of opinion he has with his mother on the show — said his mom already texted him warning that he shouldn’t hedge on his definition of Trump’s rhetoric.
“Mom’s not going to scare me off. These were not racist. This was about patriotism. When did ‘Love it or leave it?’ become racist? Not only leave it, ‘hey, come back and help us fix our problems,'” he said.
“This country is so sensitive now. We’re not talking about death, famine, drought. We’re talking about a word, a tweet,” he continued. “We’re not even talking about an action and people are crying their eyes out about this. They have said so many worse things about this President. He is a, what is it, a Nazi rapist who deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life?”
Jesse Watters says Trump's racist tweets were actually about "patriotism" pic.twitter.com/W9wsJyB0et
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) July 16, 2019
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