CNN Guest Blasts Trump's 'Go Back' Tweets, Saying President Couldn't 'Pass the Simplest Citizenship Test'

During a CNN interview on Monday morning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman strongly condemned President Donald Trump's recent tweets telling progressive Democratic congresswomen that they should "go back" to their countries.

"We all came here. We all came here because this is not a country of blood and soil, which Trump thinks, it's a country built around a universal idea that out of many, we make one," Friedman asserted. "And I know one thing absolutely for sure, that we have a president of the United States who could not pass the simplest citizenship test that is administrated to every new immigrant in this country because he has no idea what this country is about."

Earlier in his remarks, the CNN guest referenced Trump's previously reported classification of economically poorer nations, particularly in Africa, as "shithole countries." Friedman pointed out that the vast majority of American citizens are the descendants of immigrants, many of whom fled poor economic conditions or conflicts.

"Every one of us at some point or virtually all of us can trace our roots to what Trump has called shithole countries," he said. Friedman argued that Trump's attack on the four congresswomen was actually an attack on all Americans, whose parents, grandparents or prior ancestors left behind the conditions in their home countries in hopes of building a better life for themselves and their descendants.

In his controversial Sunday tweets, Trump suggested that progressive Democratic congresswomen should "go back" to the countries "from which they came." He added that "you can't leave fast enough."

While Trump did not mention anyone by name, it was clear that he was referencing Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. All the congresswomen, with the exception of Omar, were born in the U.S. as American citizens. Omar immigrated to the U.S., originally from war-torn Somalia, when she was a young girl. She became a naturalized citizen in 2000. All the representatives are, however, women of color.

Many critics quickly classified the comments as overtly "racist," explaining that there is a long history of people in the U.S. suggesting that non-white Americans should return to whatever homeland their ancestors originally came from. Democratic lawmakers and former GOP Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who now identifies as an independent, quickly slammed the presidents remarks as "racist," "disgusting" and "xenophobic."

Ocasio-Cortez and Omar
Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota attend a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities, in Washington, D.C. on February 7 SAUL LOEB/AFP

But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina defended the president's remarks on Monday morning. He argued that Ocasio-Cortez and the others are "a bunch of communists" who "hate our country." None of the four congresswomen are communists.

Trump doubled down on his remarks, asking when the progressive representatives would "apologize to our Country" in a Monday morning twitter post.

Ocasio-Cortez called out Republican lawmakers for remaining silent and not addressing the president's remarks. "Until Republican officials denounce yesterday's explicitly racist statements (which should be easy!), we sadly have no choice but to assume they condone it," she wrote on Twitter. "It is extremely disturbing that the *entire* GOP caucus is silent. Is this their agenda?"