It's diversity that makes US truly great, says Michelle Obama

Former US first lady Michelle Obama in a 2018 photo. On Friday, she tweeted that "whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there's a place for all of us". PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Former US first lady Michelle Obama in a 2018 photo. On Friday, she tweeted that "whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there's a place for all of us". PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Former first lady Michelle Obama has added her voice to the Democratic Party's outcry following President Donald Trump's attack on four ethnic minority Congresswomen, saying that "there's a place for all of us".

"What truly makes our country great is its diversity... Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there's a place for all of us," Mrs Obama tweeted on Friday, without mentioning Mr Trump. "We must remember it's not my America or your America. It's our America."

Mr Trump has come under intense fire after he attacked four first-term Democratic Congresswomen known as the "Squad".

In a rare move, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last Tuesday rebuked him for "racist comments" after he said the four should "go back" to their countries of origin if they are not happy in the United States.

But chants of "Send her back!" directed at Somali-born Congresswoman Ilhan Omar broke out at Mr Trump's "Make America Great Again" rally in Greenville, North Carolina, last Wednesday night.

He claimed to reporters in the Oval Office the next day that he was not pleased by the taunts and had attempted to cut them short.

Television footage, however, showed he let the chants continue for more than 10 seconds before he resumed speaking.

 
 
 
 

"Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots," Mr Trump told reporters on Friday, when asked about the chants. "She's lucky to be where she is, let me tell you," he said, referring to Ms Omar.

The first-term lawmakers - all of whom were born in the US, except for Ms Omar - are of Hispanic, Palestinian, African American and Somali descent. Ms Omar responded to the chants by condemning Mr Trump's "racist remarks" and branding him a "fascist".

The President's "nightmare is seeing a Somali immigrant refugee rise to Congress", she told supporters when she returned home to Minnesota last Thursday night.

"We are going to continue to be a nightmare to this President because his policies are a nightmare to us," she said to the cheering crowd at the airport.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 21, 2019, with the headline 'It's diversity that makes US truly great, says Michelle Obama'. Print Edition | Subscribe