Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley directly addressed President Donald Trump’s most recent racist tirade against them, urging Americans not to “take the bait” and instead come together to do the important business of the nation.
“Our squad is big,” Pressley said, using the nickname given to her and the other three progressive lawmakers standing alongside her. “Our squad includes any person committed to building a more equitable and just world.”
Rep. Omar—arguably the recipient of Trump’s most viciously xenophobic attacks—used her time at the lectern to frame the president’s latest remarks in the context of his long history of reprehensible statements.
“This is a president who has said ‘grab women by the pussy,’ Omar said. ‘Who has called black athletes ‘sons of bitches.’ Who has called people who come from black and brown countries ‘shitholes.’”
Ocasio-Cortez began her remarks by speaking to the children of the country.
“No matter what the president says, this country belongs to you, and it belongs to everyone,” she said.
In what was perhaps the most depressingly accurate forecast of the press conference, Rep. Tliab predicted that “Sadly, this is not the first nor will it be the last time that we hear disgusting, bigoted language form the president.”
The group then took several questions from the crowd, where, asked to respond to the president’s claim that she is a terrorist-supporting communist, Omar said simply that she would not dignify it with an answer, and that it was long past time to stop asking Muslims such questions.
The press conference, though brief, was a powerful reminder just why Trump is so dead set on attacking these four women of color. They’re everything he is not: Smart, articulate, deeply empathetic, and above all, committed to making America a better place for everyone.