Watch CBS News

From birtherism to racist tweets: Trump's history of inflaming racial tensions

Trump's history of inflaming racial tensions
Trump's history of inflaming racial tensions 02:15

Four female congresswomen fired back at President Trump on Monday after he tweeted over the weekend they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." All four Democratic lawmakers are American citizens and only Rep. Ilhan Omar was born outside of the U.S. before becoming a citizen in 2000.

The president defiantly defended himself at an event Monday. He also called the women "anti-America" and "a bunch of communists."

Republicans were slow to respond to the president's tweet. Several said he was out of line Monday, while others defended him, CBS News correspondent Weijia Jiang reported. 

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would hold a vote on a resolution condemning the president's tweets, forcing lawmakers to go on the record.

Democratic congresswomen push back against Trump's racist attacks 03:28

But as CBS News correspondent Major Garrett reported, the nation has observed Mr. Trump, as candidate and president, judge based on race. Voters saw it on the first day of his campaign, with an attack on Mexicans. 

"They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists," he said in 2015.

He accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born in Indiana, of being biased because his parents emigrated from Mexico.

"I'm talking about common sense OK? He's somebody — he is proud of his heritage," Mr. Trump said in 2016. "He's not treating me fair."

Before running for president, Mr. Trump inflamed racial tensions, questioning Former President Barack Obama's birthplace. He was then forgiving of white nationalists spewing anti-Semitism after a deadly confrontation in Charlottesville, saying there were "very fine people, on both sides."

Last year, during a meeting with senators on immigration, the president questioned why the U.S. would accept people from "sh*thole countries," adding that the U.S. should bring in people from places like "Norway."

Mr. Trump's willingness to invite charges of racism is now a staple of his presidency, as is the resiliency of his support, foreshadowed by his own words during the campaign.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters. It's like incredible," he said in 2016.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.