Corbyn blasts Johnson and Hunt over Trump’s ‘racist’ ‘go back’ tweets

Corbyn blasts Tory leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt for refusing to admit Trump’s ‘go back’ comment was racist

  • US president doubled down on his attacks on four female minority Democrats
  • Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both condemned Mr Trump’s remarks
  • But speaking at leadership debate they would not describe them as racist
  • Mr Corbyn said: ‘Telling four Congresswomen of colour to ”go back” is racist’

Jeremy Corbyn launched himself into the bitter row over hostile tweets by Donald Trump targeting minority congresswomen today, attacking both Tory leadership candidates for failing to brand them ‘racist’.

The Labour leader spoke out after the US president doubled down on his attacks on four Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley, who he told to ‘go back home’.

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both condemned Mr Trump’s remarks at a leadership debate last night but stopped short of describing them as racist.

Writing on Twitter Mr Corbyn said: ‘Telling four Congresswomen of colour to ”go back” is racist. 

‘But the Tory leadership candidates can’t bring themselves to say so. 

‘We should stand up to Donald Trump, not pander to him for a sweetheart trade deal which would put our NHS at risk.’

Despite a backlash the president unleashed a flurry of tweets during the women’s joint conference to double down on his call for them ‘leave’ the US if they weren’t happy

Boris Johnson (pictured in London today) and Jeremy Hunt both condemned Mr Trump’s remarks at a leadership debate last night but stopped short of describing them as racist

Ms Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the quartet – three of whom were born in the USA – hit back at Donald Trump on Monday, calling on House Democratic leadership to bring impeachment proceedings against him, in a joint press conference on Capitol Hill.  

Only Ms Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born, and she has lived in the US since arriving as a 10-year-old refugee in 1992.   

But despite a sizable backlash against the President’s earlier rant against the four congresswoman, he unleashed a flurry of tweets during their joint conference to double down on his call for them ‘leave’ the US if they weren’t happy.

While the left-leaning lawmakers addressed reporters, Trump declared that the United States would never bow to socialism and – in a clear swipe – said that ‘certain people hate our country.’ 

Both Tory leadeship candidates joined Theresa May in criticising the president’s words as ‘completely unacceptable’, but refused to call them out as racist as they have been widely denounced.

Mr Johnson said: ‘If you are the leader of a great multiracial, multicultural society, you simply cannot use that kind of language about sending people back to where they came from.’

But he was twice pressed on whether the comments were racist.

‘You can take from what I said what I think about President Trump’s words,’ he replied.

Mr Hunt said he would be ‘utterly appalled’ if anyone made similar remarks to his three half-Chinese children and said the words are ‘totally offensive’, but also declined to call the words racist.

‘I think that, look I’m Foreign Secretary, this is a president of a country which happens to be our closest ally and so it is not going to help the situation to use that kind of language about the president of the United States,’ he said.

However the pair, when questioned at a head-to-head debate on Monday, did suggest Mr Corbyn may harbour anti-Semitic views in the wake of a damning report by the BBC’s Panorama on Labour’s handling of the issue.    

The President doubled down on his attack of ‘radical left Democrats’ whose open border policies, he claimed, would cripple the the country with crime 

Both were asked whether they think the Labour leader is personally anti-Semitic in the wake of a damning report by BBC’s Panorama.

Mr Johnson said: ‘I think by condoning anti-Semitism in the way he does, I am afraid he is effectively culpable of that vice.’

Asked the same question at the event hosted by The Sun and talkRadio, Foreign Secretary Mr Hunt replied: ‘Unfortunately, he may be.’

A Labour spokesman said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism in all its forms and has campaigned against it throughout his life.

‘This baseless political attack comes from a politician whose Islamophobic comments were directly linked to hate crimes targeted at Muslim women, approved an article that claimed black people have lower IQs and tonight refused to apologise for describing gay men as ‘tank-topped bum boys’.’

The Democrat ‘squad’ who are in Trump’s Twitter firing line 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, New York

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Background

Known by her initials, AOC was born in The Bronx, New York City, to Puerto Rican parents. Before entering Congress, she worked for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and as a bartender.

Controversies

AOC caused a backlash among Israeli campaign groups for branding the IDF’s response to the 2018 Gaza border flare-ups a ‘massacre’ and labeling Israel’s presence in the West Bank an ‘occupation’.

Shortly after entering the House, she slammed Trump as a ‘racist’ in a TV interview.

She said: ‘The words he uses…are historic dog whistles of white supremacy. 

‘The president certainly didn’t invent racism, but he’s certainly given a voice to it.’

Last month, her comments likening migrant holding facilities to ‘concentration camps’ sparked outrage among senior GOP figures, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy who demanded an apology, which AOC refused to give.

Radical policies

AOC masterminded the proposed Green New Deal, which seeks to overhaul economic inequality through a raft of public works projects and phase out fossil fuels. 

The cost of these measures have been estimated to but an eye-watering $3.9trillion on the US purse. 

It has been supported by only a handful of fellow Democrats and come under fire from Republicans.

Several high-profile Democrats such as 2020 hopeful Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have suggested that AOC’s radical policies would make the party unelectable.

Ilhan Omar, 36, Minnesota

Background

Omar was born and raised in Somalia by her father after her mother died when she was two. They fled the country to escape civil war and she arrived in New York when she was 10. She was one of two Muslim women to be the first elected to Congress in 2018. 

On entering the House, she fought successfully to change its longstanding ban on head-wear, allowing her to keep her Hijab on.

Controversies

Earlier this year, she was reported to have said ‘some people did something’ in regards to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, prompting a backlash from Trump.

And in January, she was forced to apologize for using ‘anti-Semitic tropes’ after she suggested that US support for Israel stemmed from donations from a pro-Israel lobby. 

Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, branded the comments ‘hurtful’.

Radical policies

Omar has called for a significant reduction in military spending and ‘perpetual aggression’. She also supports free tuition fees for college students.

She has rallied behind Bernie Sanders’ proposal to to eliminate all $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt by levying a 0.5 per cent tax on sales. 

Omar has also branded the current Federal minimum wage a ‘poverty wage’ and supports raising it to $15 per hour. 

Ayanna Pressley, 45, Massachusetts

Background

Born in Ohio but raised in Chicago, Pressley as the only child of a single mother because her father was ‘in and out of prison’.

She went on to serve as Secretary of State John Kerry’s political director.

She is the first African-American woman to be elected to the US Congress from Massachusetts. 

Controversies

In January, she apologized after quoting Alice Walker’s book The Color Purple, saying she wasn’t aware of the author’s recent praise of an anti-Semitic writer. 

And recently, she implied that ethnic minorities who work for the US Customs and Border Protection some betraying their own backgrounds.

She said that they are a ‘cog’ in a system which is imprisoning migrants which ‘look just like them’.  

And in her victory speech after her primary victory, she called President Trump: ‘a racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt man’.

Radical policies

Like most of the ‘squad’ Pressley supports Medicare for all by ramping up taxes as well as free education for university students. 

She is a proponent of the ‘take a knee’ campaign which sees sports stars kneel during the national anthem to highlight police brutality against people of color. 

Pioneered by Colin Kapernick, it has come under scrutiny by the President. 

Rashida Tlaib, 31, Michigan

Background

The oldest of 14 children, she was born in Detroit to working class Palestinian parents.

Tlaib entered the Michigan state House before being one of the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress. 

Controversies 

On the day she entered Congress, Tlaib told a group of supporters her mission was to impeach Trump, who she branded a ‘motherf*****’.

And in May, Republicans accused Tlaib of spitting anti-Semitic remarks after she said talking about the Holocaust was ‘calming’.

Trump tweeted: ‘Rep. Tlaib is being slammed for her horrible and highly insensitive statement on the Holocaust. 

‘She obviously has tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people.’

But Democrats insist that she was referring to the efforts of her Palestinian ancestors in creating a safe haven for the Jewish people. 

Radical policies

She has called for the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency to be abolished and wants a $15 per hour minimum wage.

She often rallies against the super-rich and vows to protect the unions to fight against wealthy Wall Street businesses. 

She advocates scrapping the cap on what millionaires pay into the Social Security system.

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