MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Trump's Tweet Meant to 'Distract From' Changes to Asylum Laws, Trial of Former Trump Official

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday accused President Donald Trump of using his "go back" tweet as a distraction tool to divert the public and media away from other events, such as "radical" changes to asylum laws and a criminal trial of a former Trump official.

During a segment on Monday's The Rachel Maddow Show, the host delved into a series of other breaking news stories that failed to properly make national headlines due to the current news cycle being dominated by content related to controversial tweets posted by the president on Sunday.

"What they just announced today in terms of changes to asylum law though... [is] maybe this president's most radical effort to change laws along racial lines since the Muslim ban that he tried to implement as soon as he got into office," Maddow said, it's "part of a larger mosaic in terms of how the president is running and using race to get himself re-elected."

The host went on to explain her theory that Trump's tweet on Sunday was merely intended to be a distraction tool from "other story lines that are not things he can control."

"I don't think there's a total disconnect between how the president is running for re-election, the kind of outrage he's stoking and what else is going on... that he can't necessarily control," Maddow continued. "All of the stuff he's doing — in terms of racist vilification and stoking the hatred and the dehumanization of immigrants, and basking and bathing in the outrage of it — it's all unfolding amid of a whole bunch of other story lines that are not things that he can control.

"I think he's banking on just being able to distract from," she added.

Maddow went on to give another example of an important story that has failed to garner attention due to Trump's tweet.

"Today was the first day of only the second criminal trial to have resulted from the Mueller investigation and the Russia scandal and it didn't make a lot of headlines, right?" she said, explaining that the second criminal trial of a former Trump official after Paul Manafort started today.

Bijan Kian is "the number two official on intelligence matters, which means he was involved in the Trump transition on things like picking new senior leadership in the CIA," Maddow said.

A substantial portion of national political headlines on Monday was dominated by reactions to Trump's Sunday tweet, where he urged four progressive Democratic congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib — to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Most Democratic lawmakers — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the so-called "Squad," and almost every 2020 presidential candidate — quickly moved to condemn the president's tweet as "racist." Meanwhile, the hashtags #RacistInChief and #TrumpIsARacist began trending on Twitter.

Trump doubled down on his remarks at a "Made In America" event on Monday. "You can leave, you can leave right now. Come back if you like. Don't come back. It's okay too. But if you're not happy, you can leave," the president said. "I'm very unhappy. I'm watching them. All they do is complain. All I'm saying is, if they wanna leave, they can leave."

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MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Monday accused Trump of using his controversial "go back" tweet to distract the public from changes to asylum laws and a trial of one of his former officials. MSNBC/Screenshot