Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke out Friday to praise the nation’s diversity after President Donald Trump’s string of racist attacks on several congresswomen of color.
“What truly makes our country great is its diversity,” she tweeted. “I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.”
Trump bashed progressive Democrats on social media earlier this week, appearing to take aim at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. In a series of tweets, the president said the women should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
All four are U.S. citizens, and three were born in the U.S. Omar’s family were refugees who came to America from Somalia when she was a child.
Trump continued lashing out Wednesday during a rally in Greenville, North Carolina. He targeted Omar in particular, and the crowd began to chant, “Send her back.”
Trump attempted to distance himself from the line the day after the rally. However, he allowed the chanting to go on uninterrupted for about 13 seconds, and he made no effort to stop it.
“It started up rather fast,” he told reporters Thursday. “I disagree with it, but, again, I didn’t say that. They did.”
On Friday, however, Trump referred to the rally attendees as “incredible patriots.”
Democrats have largely rebuked Trump’s comments telling members of Congress to “go back” to where they came from, calling them xenophobic and divisive. A handful of world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have also criticized the president.
Many members of the Republican Party have defended the president, saying his comments were not racist and arguing he cannot control the actions of his audience. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) are among the GOP lawmakers who have have voiced objections to the “send her back” chants.