Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Monday he doesn’t believe President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking four Democratic congresswomen are racist.
He is the only Cabinet member so far to weigh in on the tweets.
“I don’t find them racist,” Mnuchin said during a White House briefing on cryptocurrencies.
“I think he speaks for himself on that,” Mnuchin went on. “I think he was clear.”
Mnuchin grew frustrated as reporters continued to ask about the President’s intentions.
“I think the President clarified his comment. I understand what the President’s comment is. I’m not concerned about the President’s comment. And, again, that’s the last comment I’m going to make on this issue,” he said.
Trump on Sunday used racist language to attack four progressive Democratic congresswomen of color, implying that they weren’t American and suggesting they “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
The President said during a White House event on Monday that the tweets were “not at all” racist, adding: “As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave.”
Some GOP members have condemned Trump’s comments, including Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, who told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that Trump’s tweets are “racist and xenophobic.” Hurd is the sole black Republican House member.
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, who is a member of Senate GOP leadership, suggested in a statement Trump used “unacceptable tactics” similar to the Democrats he wanted to criticize.
Many Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have not yet publicly weighed in.
Trump did not name the congresswomen he was attacking in his Sunday tweets.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts are all women of color and have been outspoken against Trump’s immigration policies, and last week condemned the conditions of border detention facilities.
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley are natural-born US citizens. Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the US when she was young. Omar became a citizen in 2000 when she was 17 years old, according to The New York Times.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came to the congresswomen’s defense and condemned Trump’s language, and multiple 2020 democratic presidential hopefuls rebuked Trump’s tweets.