Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) on Sunday blasted what he called a «racist tweet» from President Trump in which the president called on progressive Democratic congresswomen to return to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
«That’s a racist tweet. Telling people to go back where they came from?» Luján, the highest-ranking Latino in the House, told host Chris Wallace on «Fox News Sunday.»
«These are American citizens elected by voters in the United States of America,» he added.
Luján said Trump’s focus should be on issues such as immigration and drug prices, not «picking these fights» and «saying such racist things.»
Trump earlier Sunday did not identify any members of Congress by name, but the tweets came after he defended Speaker Nancy Pelosi amid tensions with four progressive freshman Democrats: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). All of the four except Omar, who is a U.S. citizen, were born in the United States.
Luján, a top Pelosi ally, also defended the Speaker after Ocasio-Cortez noted the insurgents Pelosi dismissed in an interview with The New York Times were all women of color.
«As a person of color … I can tell you that Nancy Pelosi has lifted up my voice,» Luján told Wallace. «I continue to look toward her leadership.»
«When you have disagreements with your colleagues, you have a conversation with them,» Luján said.
Luján was more evasive when asked about a tweet from the official House Democrats account blasting Saikat Chakrabarti, Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, for saying Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) was complicit in racist policies.
«The tone of what was included in that specific message to Sharice Davids … was wrong and something I did not support,» he said.