- Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
- President Donald Trump on Monday held notes with an incorrect spelling of Al Qaeda. The notes referred to the terror group as “Alcaida.”
- The terror group’s name is also sometimes spelled “Al Qaida” – but not “Alcaida.”
- Trump was using the notes to defend racist tweets he sent the day before about Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley.
- The president in the tweets said the four women of color should “go back” to their countries of origin. Three were born in the US, and all four are US citizens.
- As Trump doubled-down on his tweets at an event meant to focus on American manufacturing on Monday, he accused the lawmakers of hating America and said they should leave if they don’t like it.
President Donald Trump on Monday falsely claimed that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota has praised Al Qaeda. During his remarks he held notes that seemingly included the wrong spelling of the terror group’s name: “Alcaida.”
The notes were captured in a photo by Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford; the words “Alcaida” and “some people” were handwritten at the top. As the Post reported, “Alcaida” was “probably a phonetic spelling” of Al Qaeda.
The “some people” was likely a reference to comments on the September 11, 2001, attacks that Omar made earlier this year that prompted backlash from Republicans and led Trump to share a controversial video.
Reporters and others on social media mocked the spelling of Al Qaeda in the notes after his remarks, which came during an event meant to focus on American manufacturing.
How you know POTUS doesn’t read anything the experts provide, this is how he spells al Qaida: “Alcaida”
Also what is the scribble below it? https://t.co/L11XFDCvf0
— Nada Bakos (@nadabakos) July 15, 2019
Never forget when we were attacked by Alcaida https://t.co/OI7RficA2b
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) July 15, 2019
Is it too much to ask to have a President who knows how to spell, in any variation, al-Qaeda? There are numerous ways to spell it. “Alcaida” is one of the few that’s DEFINITELY wrong. https://t.co/aOjdgOsaNc
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) July 15, 2019
Trump at Monday’s event was reacting to criticism of racist tweets he sent the day before that were directed at Omar and several other freshman Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
In his tweets, Trump said the women should “go back” to the countries they came from, which he described as “totally broken and crime infested places.” All of the lawmakers – who are women of color – are US citizens (or they wouldn’t be able to serve in Congress), and three were born in the US.
Omar was born in Somalia, fled the country as a child due to a bloody civil war, stayed in a refugee camp in Kenya for a time, and came to the US when she was 10. She became a US citizen at 17.
Trump’s notes included a line about Omar’s past, but he didn’t use it during his remarks on Monday. It said, “She came here at 10 years old and is now a Congresswoman. That could ONLY happen in America.”
The president doubled-down on his tweets, claiming he was attacking women who “hate” America and should leave if they don’t like it here.
“As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave,” he said.
When asked if he was concerned that the tweets were viewed as racist, Trump said, “It doesn’t concern me, because many people agree with me.”
Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Pressley held a press conference later on Monday in which they slammed Trump for his tweets and subsequent remarks.
“He would love nothing more than to divide our country based on race, religion, gender, orientation or immigration status, because this is the only way he knows he can prevent the solidarity of us working together,” Omar said of Trump.
“When people say, ‘If you say a negative thing about the policies in this country, you hate this country,’ to me it sort of speaks to the hypocrisy,” Omar went on to say. “When this president ran and until today, he talked about everything that was wrong in this country and how he was going to make it great. And so for him to condemn us and to say we are un-American for wanting to work hard to make this country be the country we all deserve to live in, it’s complete hypocrisy.”