Republicans' response to Donald Trump's 'go home' attack on Congresswomen is more disturbing than tweets themselves

The four Democratic Congresswomen stood together in solidarity on Monday night, and fired back at the President with a carefully calibrated response.

Their tone was one of sorrow and strength.

Collectively known as The Squad, they were not angry or resentful.

Instead, the women provided Americans with a political masterclass.

The Congresswomen - Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley - are serving in the House of Representatives and are all from diverse backgrounds.

It is that fact - combined with their progressive politics - that appears to have triggered the President’s fury.

All four are American citizens, three were born in the US, and one arrived as a child refugee from Somalia.

The congresswomen said President Donald Trump’s remarks were ‘xenophobic and bigoted’. Credit: AP

When Trump delivered the racist trope that the four “should go back to the crime infested countries from which they came from” - well, that was the start of the fightback.

Pressley urged Americans not to take the bait by providing Trump with the divisive political debate that he is seeking.

Omar called Trump’s incendiary tweets the “agenda of white nationalists,” and told reporters that this was a pivotal moment in American history.

She urged Congress to start impeachment proceedings against Trump (though it must be said that many Democrats, including the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, would see that as taking the very bait that Pressley is warning about).

The President watched the four women’s response from the White House.

Instead of retreating or apologising, he dug a deeper hole and branded them as “a bunch of Communists… who hate our country".

What has been most striking is not the Presidential provocation - we are familiar with that - it’s the same playbook as the Birther conspiracy theory or the accusations levelled at Mexicans.

The real eye-opener is the silence from large swathes of the Republican party.

A handful of Republican politicians have condemned the tweets, but remarkably few.

You would expect that there would be a full-scale mutiny by now.

Instead, it is clearer than ever that the President has the party under his complete control.

It doesn’t matter what xenophobic insults he hurls.

From left to right: Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. Credit: AP

He can say what he likes about immigrants, or refugees, or progressive women of colour, and Republicans will simply accept it.

That is the ultimate failure of the Republican Party: it is obsessed with victory, it doesn’t matter about the moral or reputational cost.

Everything is about 2020 and the presidential election.

And if Trump sees continuing political advantage in attacking the four Congresswomen, even at the cost of opening America’s deepest wounds about race and immigration, he will do that without hesitation.

That’s a disturbing thought because we still have 476 days to go until the election.

And if the President is using the language of white supremacists now, amid a strong economy and decent approval ratings, what desperate tactics will he use in a year’s time when his re-election may in peril and his back may be to the wall?