Congressman Adam Kinzinger said President Donald Trump’s tweets were wrong and divisive, but he also added “too much value and unrealistic expectations” are put “on who says what on Twitter.”
Kinzinger, R-Channahon, shared a statement on his Facebook and Twitter pages Monday afternoon, saying “we as a nation have to demand better from our elected officials, on both sides of the aisle.”
The congressman joined several GOP senators, and some House Republicans, who said Trump had gone too far.
In a series of three successive tweets Sunday, the president said: “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly......
“....and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. 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. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
Trump appeared to be referring to the four new lawmakers – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, Ilhan Omar-D-Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan – who are among the most outspoken against Trump administration policies and have made headlines in their ongoing divisions with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They all support impeachment.
Each of them are women of color, three of them were born in the United States and Omar is a refugee from Somalia.
Kinzinger said in his statement “we can and should debate the ideas and argue over different policies.”
“But to denigrate those you disagree with, especially like this, is not reflective of the high honor and responsibility that the office of the Presidency carries,” the congressman said.
Kinzinger has been critical of the president’s use of Twitter on a number of occasions.
During Memorial Day weekend, Kinzinger was critical of a Trump tweet referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former Vice President Joe Biden, as well as North Korea’s recent firing of short-range missiles.
Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and Wisconsin Air National Guard member, responded: “It’s Memorial Day Weekend and you’re taking a shot at Biden while praising a dictator. This is just plain wrong.”
Kinzinger endorsed Trump during a meeting with editors from Shaw Media newspapers in November prior to the election, but he was also critical of the president’s Twitter comments. Additionally, he told the New York Times previously he takes little pleasure in being asked to account for “every tweet, every comment” the president makes.
“To respond to every thing the president says, just to appease the masses, would be a full-time job and not particularly beneficial to the people I represent in IL-16,” Kinzinger said. “They know where I stand, they know I have said time and again that I strongly disagree with the President on tone and his use of Twitter, and they know where my moral compass points. This is an ugly time for political discourse, and we must ALL work harder to improve it.”
The criticisms of Trump were coming initially from rank-and-file lawmakers, not Republican leaders, according to the Associated Press. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have yet to comment.
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican senator, said Trump made “unacceptable personal attacks” and used “racially offensive language.”
Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who faces a potentially tough re-election in 2020, called the president’s comment “way over the line.” While Collins said she disagrees “strongly” with many of the views of the “far-left” members of the House Democrats, she said the president’s tweets should be removed.
One Republican ally of Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, sought to nudge Trump to focus on their policies, even as he also called the women “anti-American.” But others took a stronger line.
Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, one of a handful of African American Republicans in Congress, said Trump’s tweets against the women lawmakers are “racist and xenophobic.”
– The Associated Press contributed to this report