US President Donald Trump's attacks on Democrat Elijah Cummings over the weekend — deriding the black congressman's district as "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess" — represent another juvenile attempt to humiliate and belittle political adversaries with tweets featuring racist undertones.
It follows his bullying of four congresswomen of colour a fortnight earlier, telling them to "go back" to the "broken and crime infested places from which they came".
All four women are American citizens and all but one born was in the United States.
Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2019
Let me be clear: these attacks do not reflect the views of the majority of the Republican Party, nor any Trump supporter that I know.
Having been the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, representing Utah's 4th district from 2015 until this year — a 97 per cent white district — I have a unique perspective.
My district was home to many strong supporters of President Trump and his administration. My own husband is among them.
These people love his policies. They love his economic record, his peace-through-strength foreign policy, his "America First" stance on trade, and his choices for judicial appointments.
They don't love racism.
These are the same people who elected me, a black woman of Haitian descent.
Trump's words at odds with his actions
US House of Representatives condemns racist tweets in another heady week under President Donald Trump
Most Republicans do not believe Mr Trump is a racist. Indeed, his long record of promoting people of colour is at odds with a term that has traditionally been used to describe those who refuse to hire, promote, rent to, or interact with people of different ethnicity.
This is why his recent remarks are so troubling to me, to my family, to people of colour and to many Trump supporters throughout the country.
Mr Trump does a disservice to every one of his voters when he allows his comments to be used to brand himself and half the country as racists.
He had an opportunity to walk those comments back when a crowd at his recent North Carolina rally began chanting "send her back" in relation to the one of the congresswomen he attacked.
He didn't do that. It was a mistake.
The man known for his refusal to ever apologise should consider doing so now.
Is an apology enough?
These kinds of comments send the wrong message and should be repudiated by Republicans of all stripes. The President should commit to stop casually using race as a weapon with which to bludgeon his political opponents.
The left may not accept his apology, but many Trump supporters and Republicans, who have been put in the untenable position of defending the indefensible, will.
His political enemies will never be satisfied, but he can make a big difference by doing more to disavow any racist interpretation of his comments in recent weeks.
President Trump must be crystal clear about the fact that he does not condone racism.
Despite the insinuations from Democrats to the contrary, there is no question that within the mainstream of the Republican Party, racism is unacceptable.
The GOP is the party that ended slavery. It is the party that I represented in Congress.
The real debate is about whether President Trump's comments themselves qualify as racist.
I personally believe the comments were racist.
I recognise that this President would be no less insulting to political adversaries who are white and male.
Nevertheless, these kinds of comments send the wrong message and should be repudiated by Republicans of all stripes. The President should commit to stop casually using race as a weapon with which to bludgeon his political opponents.
America's enemies prefer to see her divided. I watched the racial divisions in this country intensify during the presidency of Barack Obama.
What we need now is healing. It is never too late.
President Trump should express sorrow for any pain his comments have caused. Doing so would demonstrate boldness, learned humility and true leadership.