POLITICS
17/07/2019 6:18 PM AEST

Who Are The Congresswomen That Trump Targeted In Racist 'Go Home' Tweets?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other Democrats - Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley have condemned the US president's tweets.

They’re all women of colour. Every one of them is an American citizen. And of the four members of the self-styled “squad” duly elected to the House of Representatives, only one was born outside the US.

In racist tweets over the weekend, US President Donald Trump was almost certainly referring to this group of liberal House freshmen whose elections in 2018 helped return the chamber to Democratic control.

Among Trump’s tweets: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Trump defended the tweets on Monday and suggested the Democrats leave the country if they have complaints. Condemnation poured in from Democrats and – slowly – a selection of Republicans.

Here’s a look at the lawmakers Trump referenced:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29

Alex Wroblewski via Getty Images

The Bronx-born former bartender beat veteran Joe Crowley, a Democrat who had held the seat for 10 years, in New York’s congressional primary election last year in a shocking upset.

The charismatic star of the class of 2018 went on to win 78% of the vote in the general election and turned her massive social media following into a measure of power on Capitol Hill.

Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist, has clashed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the influence of newcomers. She’s also been conspicuously courted by some of the party’s many presidential candidates, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

To Trump, she tweeted: “Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ & the country we all swear to, is the United States.”

She later added that the words used by the President were the “hallmark language of white supremacists”.

In a press conference held by the four women on Monday night held about Trump’s comments, Ocasio-Cortez told a touching story about visiting Washington with her father, and spoke to the children of the country:

“No matter what the president says, this country belongs to you,” she said. “It belongs to everyone.”

Ilhan Omar, 37

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ilhan Omar became one of the first Muslim women to sit in Congress – along with Rashida Tlaib – when she was elected to represent Minnesota last year.

Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, her family were forced to flee the civil war and spent four years of her childhood in a refugee camp in Kenya, before settling in Virginia in 1995. She became a US citizen in 2000, which means she has been a citizen longer than Trump’s wife Melania

In the House, she has repeatedly run up against more senior Democrats over her remarks about Israel and what she said was the need to question the Jewish state’s influence in Washington.

To Trump, she tweeted that the US was the only country she and the others swear an oath to. 

She added: “You are stoking white nationalism [because] you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”

Omar suggested it was time to impeach Trump in the press conference: “I have not made impeachment central to my election or my tenure. But it’s not if he will be impeached, but when. It is time for us to stop allowing this president to make a mockery of this country.”

Rashida Tlaib, 42

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Detroit native is the first Palestinian American elected to the House. She and Omar are the first Muslim American women to serve in the chamber.

And like Omar, Tlaib made a name for herself almost immediately after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gaveled the new session of Congress into session in January. That night, Tlaib was videotaped talking to a liberal group — saying of Trump: “We’re gonna impeach the motherf―-er.”

No such effort is underway even now, in large part because Pelosi and other Democrats don’t see bipartisan public sentiment for doing so.

To Trump, Tlaib tweeted: “Keep talking, you just make me work harder. I’m proud of my Palestinian roots & a WEAK bully like you never wins.”

Ayanna Pressley, 45

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Cincinnati native raised in Chicago, Pressley worked for Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy and worked for John Kerry for 13 years while he served in the Senate.

In 2009, she ran for an at-large seat on Boston City Council and became the first woman of colour elected to the body in its 100-year history.

Of Trump’s tweets, she responded: “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere.”

In the press conference, she warned the American public to “not take the bait”.

“This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people,” she said.