Democrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets

Democrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets
© Greg Nash

On Wednesday, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE held a raucous rally in North Carolina that included thousands of his supporters chanting “Send her back!” — a phrase targeting Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMaher rails against anti-Israel boycott movement: 'A bulls--- purity test' for Democrats Pelosi hits Trump, Netanyahu for 'weakness' amid tensions over Omar and Tlaib Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention MORE (D-Minn.), a Somali refugee who became a U.S. citizen and is one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress.

The cries calling for Rep. Omar to be sent back to Somalia were inspired by President Trump’s tweets last Sunday, telling four progressive congresswomen known as the “Squad” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

While I have made my fervent disagreement with the radical and insurgent leftist factions of the Democratic Party abundantly clear, my distaste for them is based upon their far-left policies, not about where they came from.

ADVERTISEMENT

Following the rally, and back in the Oval Office on Thursday, President Trump seemingly disavowed the chants at his rally, saying: “I was not happy with it; I disagree with it.”

When asked why he did not stop the chants, Trump said, “I think I did. I started speaking very quickly.”

To be sure, both of these statements are categorically untrue. Footage of the rally clearly shows Trump not stopping the chanting and, instead, unmistakably pausing and allowing rally-goers to continue their calls to send a member of Congress, an American citizen, back to the country where she was born.

There is no broader political strategy, angle or statement that could make defensible what we have seen from the president and his supporters this past week.

Simply put, the tweets and the chants are racist.

ADVERTISEMENT

Further, in a USA Today/Ipsos poll released last week, 59 percent of Americans considered Trump’s tweets to be “un-American” and a whopping 68 percent of Americans judged Trump’s tweets to be offensive.

To be sure, however, the president has shown an ability to rise above poor polling numbers. Thus, it is now incumbent on the Democratic Party to rise above Trump and his tweeting, and focus on creating a unifying, compelling narrative that resonates with voters across the aisle and gives them the best chance of beating him in 2020.

Put simply, the opportunity for Democrats to be better than the president exists — the question is just whether or not they will seize it.

Indeed, the president’s behavior this past week even drew the ire of Republican elected officials, who have traditionally refrained from aggressively criticizing this president.

Rep. Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerOn The Money: House passes sweeping budget, debt limit deal | Dem court filing defends powers to get Trump's NY tax returns | Debt collectors to pay M to settle consumer bureau charges House passes sweeping budget, debt limit deal Romney to vote against budget deal: Agreement 'perpetuates fiscal recklessness' MORE (R-N.C.) a former pastor who attended the rally described the outbursts as “offensive” and added that the send-her-back cry “does not need to be our campaign call like we did the ‘lock her up’ last time.”

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan MORE (R-S.C.), who has become a vocal Trump supporter, said the president should “aim higher” while appearing on Fox News on Monday.

And former Republican presidential nominee and now Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyA US-UK free trade agreement can hold the Kremlin to account Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity Overnight Defense: US, Russia tensions grow over nuclear arms | Highlights from Esper's Asia trip | Trump strikes neutral tone on Hong Kong protests | General orders ethics review of special forces MORE (R-Utah) said “the chants were offensive and very unfortunate, and it did not speak well of that crowd … I’ve said what I believe about the president’s responsibility in this regard, which is, I believe he has a special responsibility to unite Americans regardless of our ethnicity, race, national origin, and feel that he failed in that regard.”

On the aspiring ideal of unification, I could not agree more with Sen. Romney.

Ultimately, unpopularity, scandals and division have not only plagued the Trump presidency, but also the Democratic Party.

Progressive Reps. Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts The latest victims of the far-left's environmental zealotry: Long Islanders Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention MORE (D-N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMaher rails against anti-Israel boycott movement: 'A bulls--- purity test' for Democrats Pelosi hits Trump, Netanyahu for 'weakness' amid tensions over Omar and Tlaib Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOcasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' Sen. Susan Collins: Israel should allow Omar, Tlaib to visit MORE (D-Mass.) have unquestionably sowed immense division within the Democratic Party, and now hold positions as public faces of the party.

Like the president, their rhetorical temperature needs to be turned down, and their public parades and musings must assist the necessary, concerted effort for a unified Democratic Party that is prepared to retake the White House in 2020.

While President Trump’s attacks may have reunified Democrats this past week, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Pelosi hits Trump, Netanyahu for 'weakness' amid tensions over Omar and Tlaib In Hong Kong, the need for peaceful persistence MORE (D-Calif.) must continue to advocate for and ensure that tactical compromises are made for the good of the country. She cannot allow the loudest and most leftist members of the party to derail and divide the Democrats.

To win in 2020, it will be essential for Democrats to preserve their current unity and to demonstrate it for whoever the party nominates as its presidential candidate. If they can do that, they may very well be able to take back the White House.

Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Clinton. He is a political consultant, Fox News contributor, and the author of “Collapse: A World in Crisis and the Urgency of American Leadership.”