Democratic congresswomen targeted by racist Trump tweets should get increased security, officials say

President’s words ‘should not be taken lightly’ and could precipitate attacks, says chairman of Homeland Security Committee

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 17 July 2019 09:08 BST
Donald Trump falsely claims Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar had praised al-Qaeda

Authorities have been urged to step up protections for the four congresswomen attacked by Donald Trump in a series of racist tweets.

Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, asked the Capitol police board to change the way it assessed the risk of violence directed at politicians in the wake of Mr Trump’s tweets.

Officials should institute “thresholds for enhanced security for certain targeted members, and evaluate threat streams with law enforcement partners in member districts”, he said in a letter seen by The Independent.

“Being proactive in this instance is vital to the safety of not only these targeted members, but all members of Congress”, he said, adding that Mr Trump’s tweets “should not be taken lightly” and could precipitate assaults on politicians.

In the tweets, the US president told a group of congresswomen of colour they should “go back” to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”.

Addressing the newly elected Democrats Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, he said on Sunday: “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!”

The so-called “squad” of first-time congresswomen, on the left of the Democratic Party, has clashed with Ms Pelosi over immigration funding and the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.

Mr Thompson said in a separate statement that the president’s words were ”nothing short of a dog whistle to his base and white supremacists”.

On Tuesday Mr Trump angrily insisted the messages were not racist. “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” he tweeted, before adding in a second post that he believed the women “hate our Country”.

Addressing widespread criticism of his remarks at the White House on Monday, the Republican said: “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me. A lot of people love it, by the way.”

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