Siemens boss says Trump is becoming ‘face of racism and exclusion’ in searing rebuke of president

Business heavyweight takes stand against president after racist tweet outrage, praising 'people from different origins who made country great'

Hamza Shaban
Tuesday 23 July 2019 09:33
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Trump supporters chant 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar

Donald Trump is turning into the "face of racism and exclusion" following his attacks targeting four congresswomen of colour, the chief executive of Siemens has said.

In one of the sharpest rebukes from a major business leader against the president, Joe Kaeser, who leads the German industrial giant, responded to a news article about a Trump rally in North Carolina last week, when supporters directed a hostile chant towards Democrat Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, yelling "Send her back!"

The president had earlier targeted Ms Omar, who was born in Somalia and is a naturalized US citizen, in a racist tweet, saying on Twitter that she and three other Democrats, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, should "go back" to "the crime infested places from which they came".

"I find it depressing that the most important political office in the world is turning into the face of racism and exclusion," Mr Kaeser said on Twitter.

"I have lived in the USA for many years, experiencing freedom, tolerance and openness as never before."

Mr Kaeser has previously used his position as the head of one of Europe's most powerful manufacturers to take a stand on political issues.

Last year, he backed out of an investment conference in Saudi Arabia following the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Despite his own attacks, Mr Trump has since attempted to distance himself from the crowd's chant, claiming that he tried to stop it by "speaking very quickly".

In fact, Mr Trump paused for 13 seconds during the rally to let the chant continue.

While business executives have criticised Mr Trump's policies and rhetoric in his two and a half years in office, including opposition to the administration's family separation policy at the southern US border, the recoil against the president's latest derogatory remarks have come mainly from US lawmakers and world leaders.

The leaders of the UK, Canada and New Zealand were among those denouncing Mr Trump's comments. Mr Kaeser's compatriot, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said she "stands in solidarity" with the congresswomen Mr Trump targeted on Twitter.

"In my view, the strength of America lies in that people from different (origins) contributed to what makes the country great," she said at a news conference last week, according to Business Insider.

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While some of Mr Trump's political allies have condemned the chant, they have been careful not to directly denounce the president.

"The chants were offensive and very unfortunate, and it did not speak well of that crowd," said Utah senator Mitt Romney, who was the Republican Party's 2012 nominee for president.

"I've said what I believe about the president's responsibility in this regard, which is, I believe he has a special responsibility to unite Americans regardless of our ethnicity, race, national origin, and feel that he failed in that regard."

The Washington Post

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