During an appearance on Fox News on Sunday morning, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján slammed Donald Trump for a series of tweets he made, telling four Democratic representatives, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came, then come back and show us how it is done.”
The four Democrats Trump appeared to reference—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley—are all women of color. The four are also among the most liberal members of the chamber and frequent critics of Trump.
Luján reacted with surprise when “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace read part of Trump’s Sunday morning tweetstorm to him at the end of the interview.
“Chris, that’s the first I’m hearing of that. That’s a racist tweet,” Luján said. “Telling people to go back where they came from? These are American citizens elected by voters in the United States of America to serve in one of the most distinguished bodies in the U.S. House of Representatives. I think that’s wrong.”
Three of the members of Congress referenced by Trump were born in the United States. All are American citizens.
A number of Democrats reacted and condemned Trump’s racist tweets.
New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who is facing Lujan in the Democratic Senate primary, said on Twitter that what Trump said ” reflects Trumps explicit racism, xenophobia and sexism.”
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall said on Twitter that it was “racist and appalling language” and that “every Member of Congress — Republican and Democratic — should speak up to condemn this bigotry, which is antithetical to everything this nation stands for.”
Luján also connected the tweets with “the horrendous detention facilities that we have across the country,” referring to the detention facilities for asylum seekers, highlighted after a visit to a camp in Texas by Vice President Mike Pence. The detainees are held in extremely crowded situations and did not have access to toothbrushes or regular showers.
UPDATE: Added statement by Maggie Toulouse Oliver.