News Analysis: Trump's attack on congresswomen enrages U.S. Dems but may boost support among his base

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-17 14:56:04|Editor: Yamei
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by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump's latest tweets telling four freshmen Congresswomen to leave the country have sparked outrage among Democrats. But experts say the president's controversial comments may also delight die hard supporters and go a long way toward boosting Trump's narrative that Democrats are left-wing radicals.

The tensions came to a boiling point on Tuesday when Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi introduced the resolution to condemn what she believes are "racist" tweets and comments from Trump about the four Congresswomen.

Later on Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the bill titled "Condemning President Trump's racist comments directed at members of Congress."

The vote, 240 for and 187 against, fell largely along party lines, with four Republican lawmakers voting alongside the Democrats.

The brouhaha began on the weekend when Trump fired off a series of tweets telling four freshmen members of the Congress -- known as the "Squad" -- to leave the United States if they do not like it, accusing them of hating the very country they work for as public servants. On Monday the spat escalated when Trump, during a press conference, accused the Squad of being anti-American, far-left radicals.

The targeted Democratic congresswomen of color are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Reshida Tlalib and Ayanna Pressley. Of the four, only Omar was born overseas, in Somalia. Tlalib, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, has family in Palestine, according to U.S. media.

The president said the four lawmakers should return to the "broken and crime infested" places they came from.

Trump, who has gained much popularity for expressing what many of his supporters believe but fear to say, gains points with supporters every time he makes such inflammatory remarks. While many moderate Trump supporters do not necessarily agree, the GOP's right-of-center wing agrees wholeheartedly with such statements. This will help Trump in the run up to the 2020 elections, experts said.

"If you're not happy in the U.S., if you're complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave," the soundbite of Trump's words has been playing on TV news channels with constant analysis and comment from myriad U.S. media outlets.

Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua: "I think if you're Trump's base, you eat this up."

Galdieri said Trump's sentiments are not popular among the electorate at large, and many Republicans rank-and-file voters are likely to disagree with them, but Trump's most dedicated supporters are "delighted to hear someone giving voice to thoughts they've had for years."

"His (Trump's) main object in this case is not even pleasing his base, but grabbing the headlines for a given day by playing off media interest in these four women representatives," Clay Ramsay, a researcher at the University of Maryland, told Xinhua.

"Any day when Trump can make himself 'Topic A' is a good day for Trump's strategy, which is to keep power based on the energy of a minority of the public," Ramsay added, saying that Trump understands and is a creature of the media's psychology.

The two experts' views were also echoed by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West, who told Xinhua that Trump's tweets are "designed to strengthen support among his conservative base.

"His supporters like to see him make outlandish comments, even though it upsets the rest of the country," he said.