150 UK MPs and peers accuse Trump of 'fascist tendencies' and tell Ilhan Omar: 'We are with you'

Cross-party group claims 'fascist tendencies' of US president have been 'silently accepted' for too long

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
,Ashley Cowburn
Thursday 18 July 2019 18:28
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Trump supporters chant 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar

Almost 150 British MPs and peers have condemned Donald Trump's racist comments and expressed their support for the Democrat congresswomen who were the subject of his attack.

Politicians from Labour, the Conservatives, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Change UK and the Green Party condemned the US president's attack on Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar and other women of colour in the House of Representatives.

They said Mr Trump's “outright racist and dangerous” comments were "abhorrent" and claimed that his "fascist tendencies...have been silently accepted" for too long.

The unprecedented statement came after Mr Trump provoked outrage by claiming that several unnamed Democrat congresswomen of colour should "go back" to the countries he suggested they had come from.

The backlash grew after supporters of the Republican chanted "send her home" when he criticised Ms Omar at a rally on Wednesday.

In an open letter co-ordinated by Labour MP Naz Shah, the British MPs and peers condemned “the abhorrent racist and fascist chants” about Ms Omar.

They wrote: “It is shocking that in the 21st century a president of the United States would speak about opposition congresswomen of colour as non-Americans. What is further despicable is that this then descended into the most evil and vilest type of politicking, in which the president silently condoned aggressive chants of ‘send her back’ referring directly towards Ilhan Omar.

“This type of racist, misogynistic and extremist political atmosphere has for decades only been seen on the peripheries of far-right, white supremacist politics. Last night this inciteful open bus hatred was validated in the presence of the president of the United States."

They continued: “America is a land of immigrants, yet President Trump’s supporters show that they view Ilhan Omar as a foreigner, and this rhetoric is dangerous, as we saw with the Christchurch and Pittsburgh attacks.

"The dark days of history remind us all of how minority communities have been de-humanised by having their citizenship removed, consequently legitimising their extermination."

The group said Mr Trump's attack on "a hijab-wearing woman of colour" was “outright racist and dangerous” and claimed that for too long "the fascist tendencies of the president have been silently accepted".

They concluded: “We stand with Ilhan Omar and the congresswomen of colour that have been attacked…You are not alone, we are with you."

The row broke out on Sunday when Mr Trump provoked uproar by tweeting that the Democrat congresswomen should “go back” to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came”.

He did not specify who he was referring to, but the attack was widely interpreted as being aimed at Ms Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.

Donald Trump claims he tried to stop 'send her back' chants by 'speaking very quickly'

Mr Trump has denied that the comments were racist and on Thursday tried to distance himself from the chants about Ms Omar, saying: "I was not happy with it - I disagree with it.”

Asked why he had not intervened at the time, he said: "I think I did - I started speaking very quickly."

Ms Omar responded to the attack by tweeting a photo of herself in the House of Representatives along with the caption: "I am where I belong, at the people's House and you're just gonna have to deal!".

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