WASHINGTON – Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said President Donald Trump is “actually distancing the majority of Americans from him” with his attacks on freshman Democratic lawmakers.
Following his speech at the Made in America Product Showcase on Monday, Trump defended his weekend tweets about freshman members of Congress.
“If you’re not happy here, then you can leave. As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave,” he said on Monday at the White House. “And that’s what I say all the time. That’s what I said in a tweet, which I guess some people think is controversial. A lot of people love it, by the way.”
Jayapal, the first Indian-American elected to the House, responded to Trump’s statements on Monday.
“Our Constitution allows for rights of everybody but also for those that are foreign-born members of Congress, there are 14 of us, I’m one of them. It is highly insulting to insinuate that somehow we should go back to, quote, our country – our country is America,” said Jayapal, who came to the U.S. at 16 years of age for college. “I am an American and I refuse to have to defend that to anybody, but the idea that a president could be in the White House and undermine the Constitution and the basic values of this country is abhorrent.”
Jayapal said she thinks that Trump is going to lose support among the electorate because of his tweets.
“I actually think he loses people on this. I really believe that most Americans understand their own connections to immigration and their own families’ connections to immigration,” Jayapal said on Monday.
“I think the president’s attacks are actually distancing the majority of Americans from him. I think the majority of Americans believe immigrants are important to this country. They remember their own immigrant heritage and I don’t think it ever emboldens people to be racist but I think what it does is it pulls people toward justice and I think that’s what we’re doing.”