The Government has joined the growing backlash against US president Donald Trump’s racist attack on four Congresswomen.
Mr Trump has been accused of fuelling race-based hate by Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who has launched a scathing attack on the US president.
Mr Trump has been called a racist by US Democrats after making controversial comments about four non-white congresswomen who he said should “go back” to the “crime-infested places from which they came”.
He had been referring to Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, who are known as ‘The Squad’ and who all are US citizens.
Three were born in the US, while Ms Omar became a US citizen in 2000, aged 17.
Ms Omar last night went as far as claiming Mr Trump is fascist.
The US president stepped up his vilification of the four female liberal lawmakers as un-American at a raucous rally on Wednesday, which prompted the crowd to chant “send her back, send her back” in reference to Ms Omar.
Mr Coveney, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, described the rally as “chilling” and said Mr Trump’s targeting of people purely based on their race is “not acceptable”.
The comments could raise tensions with the US administration ahead of September’s visit to Ireland of vice president Mike Pence, who has also expressed radical views on immigration.
Buoyed up by supporters at the North Carolina rally, Mr Trump went on an extended diatribe about the four women, saying they were welcome to leave the country if they did not like his policies on issues such as immigration and defending Israel.
Reacting on Twitter, Mr Coveney posted a clip of the rally speech with the comments: “This is chilling ... targeting individuals, fuelling hatred based on race is not acceptable in political discourse. History tells us where this leads.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also criticised Mr Trump for the remarks.
Asked during an interview on RTÉ Radio’s Today With Sean O’Rourke programme if the US president’s latest comments were racist, Mr Varadkar said he believed they “certainly have the hallmarks of racism”.
The Taoiseach, who recently met Mr Trump during his two-day visit to his Co Clare golf and hotel resort, quickly added that he was not calling Mr Trump a racist.
As Mr Trump recounted past comments by Ms Omar at his rally in Carolina, who was born in Somalia and emigrated to the US as a child, the crowd at this week’s rally began chanting.
Reacting yesterday, Ms Omar said: “We have said this president is racist, we have condemned his racist remarks.
“I believe he is fascist. I want to remind people that this is what this president and his supporters have turned our country [into] that is supposed to be a country where we allow democratic debate and dissent to take place.
“So this is not about me, this is about us fighting for what this country truly should be.”
Ms Pressley said: “This is what racism looks like. We are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalise and vilify everyday.”
Mr Trump previously made similar comments about Ms Ocasio- Cortez, whom he referred to as “Cortez” because “I don’t have time for that many words”, and was similarly critical of fellow Democrats Ms Pressley and Ms Tlaib.
“Tonight I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down,” Mr Trump claimed.
They never have anything good to say. That’s why I say: ‘Hey, if they don’t like it, let them leave. Let them leave.'
He spent a significant part of his 90-minute speech criticising the four lawmakers, to an enthusiastic crowd.When asked about Mr Trump’s remarks after the rally, White House advisor Kellyanne
Conway asked a Jewish journalist “what is your ethnicity?”.