A Trump 2020 campaign director claimed on Sunday that President Trump did not tell several U.S.-born Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to their “totally broken and crime infested” native countries, by re-sharing the exact tweet in which Trump wrote: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Matt Wolking, Deputy Director of Communications at Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., claimed Sunday afternoon that Twitter was “lying” and that the president had not, in fact, told several progressive House Democrats to go back to their “crime infested” countries of origin.
“Anyone who says the president told members of Congress to go back to where they came from is lying. He told them to, ‘Then come back and show us how it is done,'” Wolking tweeted Sunday. He included a screenshot of Trump’s earlier Sunday tweets.
“So @TwitterMoments is lying,” Wolking added, falsely claiming Twitter’s news feature was pushing “fake news.”
“Fake news @pbump wrong again,” he tweeted later Sunday afternoon.
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) July 14, 2019
Wolking’s tweets came shortly after Trump tweeted: “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,” he added. “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
Although Trump did not identify the lawmakers, the remarks came amid a week of escalating tension between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a group of four freshman House Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.).
Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, before coming to the U.S. as a refugee with her family. Pressley was born in Cincinnati, while Tlaib was born in Detroit. Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York. They are all U.S. citizens.
In response to Wolking’s tweets, The Washington Post’s Philip Bump wrote: “If your job is to put a good face on Trump’s tweets, here’s where you land. The guy who says that telling someone to leave and then come back doesn’t count as telling them to leave also claims that Trump not presenting evidence when making a claim doesn’t count if evidence comes out later.”
“This is astonishing gaslighting. He’s pretending the sentence right before the highlight simply doesn’t exist,” National Review Institute Fellow David French responded, retweeting Wolking’s commentary.
“Quoting Trump is now ‘lying’ according to Trump’s ‘Director of Rapid Response’,” wrote frequent Trump critic Judd Legum, of Popular Information.
“The Trump rapid response team is under the impression people can be tricked with some sneaky highlighting of the one non racist clause in the tweet,” mocked Tim Miller of The Bulwark.
Wolking fired back at several journalists on Sunday, “As usual, members of the media are misleading Americans by using selective quotes and not telling the whole story,” he replied Sunday afternoon.