Bloomington-Normal’s two congressmen stopped short of a full rebuke of President Donald Trump’s racist tweets about four members of Congress, criticizing the language he used but also suggesting both sides were to blame for the nasty rhetoric.
Trump’s Sunday tweets were directed at Democratic freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — all women of color. Trump tweeted that they should “go back” to the “places from which they came.” Three were born in the U.S. Omar became a U.S. citizen at age 12.
Then on Monday, Trump said the members of Congress were “free to leave” the country if they are unhappy with the U.S. and accused them of hating America.
Democrats were quick to denounce the tweets Sunday. Many House Republicans issued statements on Monday and Tuesday.
“It is not the language that I would have used, but I believe the president and many constituents in my district are deeply disturbed by the new radical agenda that these socialist members in the House are pushing of open borders, elimination of ICE, government-run health care, and continued anti-Israel, anti-America rhetoric,” said U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, a Republican from Peoria. His 18th Congressional District includes parts of Bloomington-Normal.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said he disagreed with the “rhetoric” used by Trump. His 13th Congressional District also includes parts of Bloomington-Normal.
“We saw the outcome of over-the-top political rhetoric in 2017 when Republican members of Congress, including myself, were shot at on a baseball field, and over the weekend, when we saw another armed extremist attack an ICE facility in Washington State,” Davis said.
“While I strongly oppose many of the positions advocated for by my colleagues and their statements about law enforcement, I disagree with the rhetoric used by President Trump. Personal attacks do more harm than good and allow the harmful policies being pushed by far-left members of the Democratic caucus to be ignored,” Davis said.
This is an especially ugly time for our political discourse, and we must all work harder to improve it. pic.twitter.com/m4i6a5w1FC
— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 15, 2019
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican who grew up in Bloomington-Normal but now represents northern Illinois, said “this is an especially ugly time for our political discourse.”
"We as a nation have to demand better from our elected officials, on both sides of the aisle. What the president tweeted this weekend was wrong and does nothing but further divide us. We can should debate the ideas and argue over different policies. But to denigrate those you disagree with, especially like this, is not reflective of the high honor and responsibility that the office of the presidency carries.
Seeing countless media folks threaten over the supposed ‘silence’ (on Sunday) also contributes to division in our country, with the near constant outcry that puts way too much value and unrealistic expectations on who says what on Twitter.
To respond to every thing the president says, just to appease the masses, would be a full-time job and not particularly beneficial to the people I represent in the (16th Congressional District). They know where I stand, they know I have said time and again that I strongly disagree with the president on tone and his use of Twitter, and they know where my moral compass points. This is an ugly time for political discourse, and we must ALL work harder to improve it.”
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