Trump’s racist comments challenge Republicans, media

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley encouraged the public to “not take the bait,” yesterday, referring to a series of racist tweets from President Trump as a “disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people.”

Trump had criticized four progressive congresswomen, known as “the Squad,” in a series of inaccurate birther-esque posts, saying, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” He said the four minority lawmakers — three of whom were born in the US — came from “countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.”

One could argue that this is exactly the kind of distraction that is needed to unsettle conservatives and anyone who has grown accustomed to normalizing xenophobia and racism.

The group of four women includes Pressley, who grew up in Chicago and was born in Cincinnati, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was born in the Bronx, Rashida Tlaib, born in Detroit, and Ilhan Omar, who settled in Minneapolis as a Somali refugee and gained citizenship six years before Melania Trump.

Gov. Charlie Baker jumped head first into the issue calling the president’s statements “disgraceful,” “shameful and racist.”

“The bottom line here is, you are a public servant and if you’re in a job where you’re a public servant, you should behave that way. And tweets like that send a horrid, debilitating, hateful message that there’s just no place for public discourse,” Baker said, calling on fellow Republicans to send a similar message.

Former governor Bill Weld, Trump’s Republican challenger, tweeted, “Mr. Trump clearly lives in a world fueled by his own frenzies.”

Utah senator and former Massachusetts GOP governor Mitt Romney got pulled aside at Logan Airport by NBC Boston, but stumbled through an answer that included a criticism of the congresswomen, calling their views “not consistent with building a strong America,” and softballing his take on Trump, saying he fell “far short” in that effort. Asked whether Trump’s comments were racist, Romney punted. “That’s all I’ve got, thanks,” he said, walking away from reporter Alison King.

Meanwhile, media headlines range from Time magazine’s blunt “Congresswomen targeted by Trump’s racist tweets,” to NPR’s “Lawmakers respond to Trump’s racist comments: We are here to stay,” to the New York Times‘s “Trump aides, not eager to defend his tweets, also don’t condemn them.” The Boston Globe runs a timeline called “Trump’s racially related comments,” to which commenters replied by “fixing” the headline to include the word “racist.”

In an effort that could be considered as capitalizing on the potential clicks from the “disruptive distraction” Pressley warned of,  the Globe, Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times are asking readers on Twitter to message them if they’ve ever been “told to go back to your country,” prompting a flood of comments from immigrants and people of color who have dealt with the issue long before the tenure of Trump.

The Washington Post explored the media’s handling of the issue and how to characterize Trump’s invective, including a statement from the paper’s editor, Marty Baron, on how the Post chose to describe the president’s comments. “The ‘go back’ trope is deeply rooted in the history of racism in the United States,” said Baron. “Therefore, we have concluded that ‘racist’ is the proper term to apply to the language he used Sunday.”

SARAH BETANCOURT


BEACON HILL

House Speaker Robert DeLeo says the state may need to pass another temporary budget for August, an indication that lawmakers are not close to a deal on the 2020 budget, which was due July 1. (Boston Globe)

The experience of Dracut resident Christine DiLorenzo, who was surprised to learn the potency of two beers she had at a local restaurant, inspired Rep. Colleen Garry to file legislation requiring bars to list the alcohol content of beers. (Lowell Sun)

 MUNICIPAL MATTERS

City Council President Moises Rodrigues was chosen by the City Council to succeed Bill Carpenter as the next mayor in Brockton following Carpenter’s death. Rodrigues, who is Cape Verdean, is the first non-white mayor of Brockton, which has a large immigrant population. (Brockton Enterprise) 

Lawyers for two top aides to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made a last-ditch effort to have their extortion case dismissed before it’s scheduled to go to trial next Monday. (Boston Globe)

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini wants Neighborhood of Affordable Housing Inc. to be the preferred developer to build 80-113 units of affordable and market-rate housing on a piece of riverfront property. (Eagle-Tribune)

A state public records official has ordered the Town of Rockland to release its latest report on a year-old sex scandal despite its professed concerns that making the document public would be an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” The Patriot Ledger had appealed the denial of its public records request, and the state’s public records supervisor agreed to order the town to release it.

It took eight months before Hopkinton Fire Chief Steve Slaman learned about a temperature anomaly at an Eversource Energy liquefied natural gas facility in town, and now he’s asking state regulators to facilitate better communication. (Metrowest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The controversy continued over President Trump’s racist tweets directed at four minority congresswomen, with the group of four lawmakers, which includes Rep. Ayanna Pressley, holding a press conference to denounce Trump. (Boston Globe) Gov. Charlie Baker said the president’s attack on the congresswomen was “shameful and racist.” (WGBH) Neema Avashia writes about the visceral reaction she had, recalling the times when she was told to “Go back where you came from.” (WBUR) Trump campaign officials scrambled to reframe the tweets away from their race focus. (Politico) Congressman Seth Moulton says, Trump “is a racist.”

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Bay State Banner writes about how the sale of a two-acre plot in Dudley Square poses challenges to the community.

EDUCATION

Leaders with the Collaborative Parent Leadership Action Network urge lawmakers to pass a revamped education funding formula that includes the doubling of aid for low-income students included in the Promise Act filed earlier this year. (CommonWealth)

Salem has new interim leadership in the school department and at the high school with Kathleen Smith taking over as superintendent and Samantha Meier as principal. (Salem News)

The Fall River school department’s new bus contract bids came in Monday with $2 million in savings over an original five-year contract that would have cost $11.9 million. (Herald News) 

TRANSPORTATION 

A conflict is brewing over redevelopment of a state-owned railroad right-of-way in East Boston, which a local cargo company is bidding on but which two former state transportation secretaries, Fred Salvucci and Jim Aloisi, say should be part of a broader planning process. (Boston Globe)

There were no bids on a state-funded $265,000 project to improve traffic safety in Manchester-by-the-Sea. (Gloucester Daily Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Think it’s hot now? Ninety degree temperatures will likely occur in Massachusetts about one month a year by 2050 and more than two months a year by 2100. Currently, the average is seven to 10 days. (WBUR) 

CASINOS

Encore Boston Harbor recorded a strong first week of operations, with state officials reporting the Everett casino brought in $16.7 million over the last week in June, nearly as much as the Springfield MGM casino did for the entire month. (CommonWealth) A class-action lawsuit filed Monday alleges that some of that healthy take came from Encore violating state gambling regulations by paying out less than the law requires in blackjack games. (MassLive)

Suffolk Construction, which built the Everett casino, is pushing back against claims by Worcester-based Coghlin Electrical Contractors that it is owed $30 million for work on the project. (Telegram & Gazette)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

After a key piece of evidence went missing in the Kevin Spacey sexual assault case, the Cape and Islands district attorney has directed the Cape & Islands State Police Detective Unit to get receipts when giving evidence back to victims. (Cape Cod Times) 

Only four prisoners have received medical parole since enactment of the state’s criminal justice reform law in April 2018, which provides for compassionate release of inmates who are incapacitated or terminally ill. (Boston Globe)

Selvin Manuel Lima, who allegedly killed Taysha Rohena Silva, an 11-year-old girl, with his car while fleeing from police in Lawrence, will be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. (Eagle-Tribune)

Marblehead police are investigating after someone put Holocaust-denial posters outside Temple Emanu-El. (Daily Item)

MEDIA

A co-host of WBUR’s “Here and Now” show apologized after a segment of the show featured two historians talking about the history of tobacco regulation who relied almost entirely on the work of a fellow historian, who was not credited during the conversation. (Boston Globe)

Michael Kusek, who published Take Magazinehas launched Different Leaf, which will explore aspects of the legal marijuana market starting with Massachusetts. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)