149 Black Staffers From The Obama Administration Write Op-Ed Condemning Trump
Former President Obama retweeted the op-ed.
July 31, 2019 at 9:38 pm
As much as 149 black staffers who served in a wide range of roles throughout the Obama administration, came together to sign an Op-Ed condemning President Trump's "go back" remark regarding the four freshman congresswomen known as "The Squad."
The op-ed was published in The Washington Post on July 26.
"We stand with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump; along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here and who does not," reads the piece, authored by Clarence J. Fluker, Charmion N. Kinder, Jesse Moore, and Khalilah M. Harris.
The controversy began on July 14 when Trump sent a thread of tweets telling the congresswomen to go back to their home countries — though all but Omar are American-born, and Omar is U.S. citizen.
....it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2019
"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. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements," Trump tweeted.
The Washington Post piece caught a lot more national attention after it was tweeted out by former President Obama, in an attempt to show support for his staffers, but in the process broke an unwritten rule for former presidents to not criticize their successor.
I’ve always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better. https://t.co/0cfDltjueP— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 27, 2019
While the piece focused mostly on Trump's comments, the authors also shared their disapproval with the chants in North Carolina. During a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on July 23, supporters of Trump passionately yelled “Send her back!” after Trump ignited attacks on Omar — attacks he has continued throughout 2019.
“Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online," reads the op-ed. "They are part of a pattern in our country designed to denigrate us as well as keep us separate and afraid.”
Besides the retweet, Obama has not spoken about the chants or tweets from Trump and his supporters on "send her back."