Obama Says He's 'Proud' of African American Former Staffers Who Condemned Trump's 'Racism, Sexism' in Op-Ed

Former President Barack Obama on Saturday said he was "proud" of his former African American administration staffers after 148 of them co-signed a Washington Post op-ed this weekend condemning President Donald Trump and his administration for "poisoning" our "democracy."

"I've always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I'm proud of how they're continuing to fight for an America that's better," Obama tweeted, alongside a link to the article titled "We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by," published on Friday.

"We stand with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump, along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here — and who does not," the article, co-signed by 148 African Americans who served in the Obama administration, said.

"There is truly nothing more un-American than calling on fellow citizens to leave our country — by citing their immigrant roots, or ancestry, or their unwillingness to sit in quiet obedience while democracy is being undermined," the former administration officials added. "We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy."

The op-ed comes after Trump urged four progressive lawmakers, all women of color, to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," in a series of tweets earlier this month. Despite the president's suggestion that all the congresswomen were foreign-born, all but one were born in America. Congresswoman Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and moved to the U.S. at a young age after her family fled from their home nation.

Democratic leaders and almost every 2020 presidential candidate quickly moved to condemn Trump's remarks as "racist." But despite the backlash, Trump has repeatedly doubled down on his comments, including at his campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina earlier this month, where he called Omar a lawmaker that does not "love this country."

"Omar blamed the United States for the crisis in Venezuela... and she looks down with contempt on the hard-working Americans, saying that ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country," the president declared, as the crowd loudly chanted, "Send her back!"

A day after the Washington Post op-ed, Trump became the subject of another wave of backlash after he attacked Democratic lawmaker Elijah Cummings, calling his Baltimore district a "rat and rodent infested mess."

"His Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA," the president tweeted. "Cumming['s] District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."

Barack Obama
Former President Barack Obama speaks at the MBK Rising! My Brother's Keeper Alliance Summit in Oakland, California on February 19, 2019. Obama on Saturday said he was "proud" of his African American former staffers after 148 of them co-signed an op-ed in the Washington Post this weekend condemning Trump's recent attacks on four minority congresswomen. Josh Edelson/Getty