A Teachable Moment: Trump and “Go Back to ________”

Posted on July 19, 2019


Readers, while many of you may have no recollection of life under segregation, please understand that you’re getting a disturbing example of it from none other than Donald Trump, the president of the United States.

Sometimes a picture can cut to the heart of the matter in this discussion? debate? denial? regarding the intent of “Go back to __________” and its terrible history in America. Since I grew up during segregation I’ve had the insult directed my way. Still, I recognize that this is now a “tactic/strategy” being used to fire up Trump’s base by framing four minority congresswomen as the “other” and that one should “love this country or leave it” (this coming from the same man who used a bone spur in his foot to avoid the draft, as well his constant criticisms of the US both before and after he took office. More on Trump’s record of complaints are chronicled later in this post).

But lest anyone thinks Trump didn’t know what he was doing or wasn’t familiar with the meaning of “Go back to ___________” I present visuals to show that people of certain age know exactly what they mean when using it.


Racism and Xenophobia today:

“Go back to _________”



Racism today - I cant breathe

“I Can’t Breathe” – a plea that went ignored in the death of Eric Garner


Central American migrants are seen inside an enclosure in El Paso after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States illegally and turning themselves in to request asylum Link: https://snddenjpic.org/2019/04/08/us-mexico-border-official-says-migrant-crisis-at-breaking-point/



Neo Nazis attack black man in Charlottesville

Four neo-Nazis attacking black school teacher De’Andre Harris with iron bars and lumber in a parking garage in Charlottesville on Saturday, Aug 12. © Zach D Roberts, 2017.


Link: https://www.gregpalast.com/charlottesville-gun-face-got-photo/


white nationists-alt-righters-neo nazis chant during their Unite the Right rally

white nationists-alt-righters-neo nazis chant during their Unite the Right rally in 2017. They are on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Virginia. https://www.channel24.co.za/TV/News/gripping-vice-documentary-goes-inside-the-horrifying-events-of-charlottesville-20170816


“Violence broke out Friday night as a large crowd of white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia (UVA) campus carrying tiki torches and chanting “you will not replace us.”

“The white-nationalist protesters are in Charlottesville for the “Unite the Right” rally on Saturday, where officials expect between 2,000 to 6,000 people to attend the protest against the removal of the Lee statue from the city’s Emancipation Park, according to the Daily Progress, a newspaper in Charlottesville”




Remembering Heather Heyer



Heather Heyer, the anti-racism activist killed at the Charlottesville white nationalist protests, died as a result of blunt-force injury to the chest, according to a medical report.

Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, died after a car drove into a crowd of counterprotesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally being held in the Virginia town on August 12.

Nineteen other protesters were injured after being hit by the vehicle.




Vandals demand Muslims Go home



Muslim Go Home on truck



During Segregation:


Go home Negro photo



Racism against Japanese





Lakeview NY 1962 sign advocating that black homeowners move to another community. Please note that the message states: This Community could become another GHETTO. You owe it to YOUR FAMILY to buy in another Community. 


The kick seen round the world

The kick seen ’round the world. Alex Wilson is attacked by a mob and the world finally sees what African Americans were subjected to. Please note the brick in the attacker’s left hand.


For more photos taken during segregation:





How did the nation get into this throwback ideology from the dark days of segregation and fear? Why from the current occupant of the White House:




Trump used the age old “Why don’t they go back” even though three of the members of congress were born in the US and the fourth became a naturalized citizen of this country in her teens. Somehow I don’t think he knew they were all from the US prior to sending out the tweet.



The targeted Democratic House members are Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts:




In an attempt to tamp down the firestorm that he started, Trump has again tried to cover himself using patriotism as an excuse for his lack of class, knowledge of history and the stupid, racist shit he says and tweets. Please remember how awful he was and continues to be to the late Senator John McCain and the row he had with the Gold star family of Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in action in 2004. Also, Trump and his minions are singling out Rep. Ilhan Omar, presumably because she was originally born in Somalia and has the audacity to have her own opinions. However, his new spin on “Go back to _________” is flawed. His suggestion? demand? command? order? that people love this country by not criticizing it goes against the principles and laws America was founded on. I also cringe at this man telling females and people of color (remember he used this same argument on those who kneeled during the National Athem) how they should behave and speak.

Trump now claims he’ll “try to stop” the “Send her back” chant in any future propaganda rallies he holds,* but he’s done this sleazy bait and switch far too many times. And yes, Trump has the freedom to say whatever he chooses. But we also have the freedom to rebuke him when he believes bigotry can be used to his advantage.

*Updated to add that Trump has reversed course (no surprise) probably after someone expressed anger at him throwing his supporters under the bus (which is routine for him):


“After distancing himself from chants of “send her back” aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, the president pivoted to calling his supporters at a North Carolina rally “incredible people.”

Trump has said four Democratic congresswomen including Omar — the only one born abroad — should “go back” to unspecified countries if they don’t like the U.S. Trump on Thursday said he disagreed with the chants that broke out at the Wednesday-night rally. On Friday, he returned to criticizing Omar, saying “She’s lucky to be where she is.”

Asked about his professed unhappiness with the rally chants, Trump said: “No, you know what I’m unhappy with — the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country.”

Link: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-takes-fresh-swipe-at-fed-as-he-defends-fans-who-chanted-send-her-back-2019-07-19?mod=newsviewer_click


Prior to the above switch (which is on videotape) Trump stated:

“I disagree with it by the way. It was quite a chant. I felt a little bit badly about it. And I started speaking very quickly. But it started out rather fast, as you probably know.” – Trump’s response when asked why he didn’t stop the chant of “Send her back”





“Mr. Trump said that he “was not happy” with the chant and that he had tried to cut it off, a claim contradicted by video of the event. Asked why he did not stop the chant, Mr. Trump said, “I think I did — I started speaking very quickly.”

In fact, as the crowd roared “send her back,” Mr. Trump looked around and seemed to bask in the enthusiastic refrain.

“I was not happy with it,” Mr. Trump said on Thursday at the White House. “I disagree with it.”

Mr. Trump’s effort to distance himself from his own campaign rally reflected the misgivings of his allies. Republicans pleaded privately with the White House on Thursday to avoid allowing the party to be tied to the message embraced by the crowd in Greenville, N.C., even as they declined to criticize Mr. Trump.”

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/us/politics/ilhan-omar-donald-trump.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage



See a clip of the chant and Trump’s behavior below:




Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnm5wgvwpGM


Trump also omits that at the same rally Laura Trump urged the crowd with a call and response of  “If you don’t love our country . . . ” urging the crowd to respond. They did with the word “LEAVE”


“Before Trump spoke, his daughter-in-law Lara Trump led the crowd in a joint expression of disdain for the lawmakers.

“If you don’t love our country, the president said it, you can …” she said, allowing the crowd to finish the sentence.

“LEAVE,” they roared.”


Link: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/after-house-rejects-stupid-impeachment-trump-fuels-rally-crowd-chant-n1031066



This falls squarely in Trump’s lap and all those who are silent in the Republic party and also those who condoned Trump’s “Go Back” tweet.

The same man who claims he doesn’t have “a racist bone in his body” gambled on using a racist phrase as a political tactic. Now that there is blowback worldwide, he’s trying to weasel his way out of a situation he created. Unlike Rep. Omar, who ended up apologizing for her tweet, Trump will not and has never truly apologized for any of his verbal or tweeted transgressions (like re-tweeting this lie about African American crime statistics. Hint – there is no San Francisco Crime Statistics Bureau), another example of Donald Trump using a known stereotype about a minority group:

While Trump rehashes what he feels Rep. Omar has stated that shows her lack of love and loyalty for America, what about the vile things he’s stated without any proof?

Just recently Trump made a digusting claim about Rep. Omar and a member of her family. Again, he used a tactic where he drops unsubstantiated BS for his base, then tries to act as if he “heard” it from the imaginary “some people.”  Trump’s verbal and tweeted transgressions are many. He claimed to have seen Muslims in America celebrating during 9/11 on television, yet no such footage has ever been found. Remember, the key here is that Trump claimed Muslims in the US were celebrating an attack on this country. He claimed in a tweet that Obama had “tapped” his office in Trump tower without any proof or even an apology after his tweet could not be verified.

His greatest “hits” include:

Sadly, the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and hispanics-a tough subject-must be discussed.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2013


When will the U.S. stop sending $’s to our enemies, i.e. Mexico and others.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2014


Tweets from Trump


June 3, 2016
“I’ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I’m building a wall, OK? I’m building a wall. I am going to do very well with the Hispanics, the Mexicans,” Trump said in an interview with CNN on June 3, explaining his attacks on the judge presiding over the Trump University lawsuit.


Link: https://time.com/4473972/donald-trump-mexico-meeting-insult/


Promising that Mexico would pay for the wall

His Obama birth certificate stunt, his “very fine people” statement that equated Neo-Nazis with those who opposed them:

“President Trump defended the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville on Tuesday, saying they included “some very fine people,” while expressing sympathy for their demonstration against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It was a strikingly different message from the prepared statement he had delivered on Monday, and a reversion to his initial response over the weekend.”



“The “Unite the Right” rally that sparked the violence in Charlottesville featured several leading names in the white-nationalist alt-right movement, and also attracted people displaying Nazi symbols. As they walked down the street, the white-nationalist protesters chanted “blood and soil,” the English translation of a Nazi slogan. One of the men seen marching with the fascist group American Vanguard, James A. Fields, is charged with deliberately ramming a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer.”



Trump’s “Grab ’em by the pussy” Access Hollywood tape and subsequent non apology, later claiming that it wasn’t him on the tape with Billy Bush.




Trump’s call for the execution of five young black men by taking out a full page ad:

Donald Trump and the Central Park Five: the racially charged rise of a demagogue



Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when Donald Trump demanded his execution for a crime he did not commit.

Nearly three decades before the rambunctious billionaire began his run for president – before he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, for the expulsion of all undocumented migrants, before he branded Mexicans as “rapists” and was accused of mocking the disabled – Trump called for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York following a horrific rape case in which five teenagers were wrongly convicted.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/17/central-park-five-donald-trump-jogger-rape-case-new-york


Link where Trump’s full page ad can be read: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/17/central-park-five-donald-trump-jogger-rape-case-new-york#img-2


Declaring during his presidential candidacy in June of 2015, Trump issued his much-quoted summary of immigrants:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. [sic] They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

“It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all South and Latin America, and it’s coming, probably, probably, from the Middle East. But we don’t know, because we have no protection, and we have no competence and we don’t know what’s happening.”




“Trump, of course, has also faced charges of anti-Semitism. During the campaign, he tweeted an image of his opponent Hillary Clinton over a bed of money. Clinton was pictured beside a six-pointed star calling her corrupt. It was an image created by someone online who had a history of producing anti-Semitic images — but Trump spent several days arguing that the star was meant to be a sheriff’s star.”

“While Barack Obama was president, Trump declared that political correctness had led the United States to lose “all sense of direction or purpose.” That “our country and our ‘leaders’ are getting dumber all the time.” That the country had become “stupid.” That the country had never looked “weaker or more pathetic.”


Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/16/what-has-ilhan-omar-done-that-donald-trump-hasnt/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.833c71431802



In 2000, when New York was considering expanding Native American casinos in the Catskill Mountains, a series of TV, newspaper and radio ads popped up in the state accusing the Mohawk Indian tribe of having long criminal records and ties to the mob. The ads showed pictures of cocaine lines and syringes and asked: “Are these the new neighbors we want?”

As far as the public knew, the ads were sponsored by a newly formed group called the Institute for Law and Safety. The group claimed that it was funded by 12,000 “grass-roots, pro-family” donors.

But in reality, it was bankrolled by Trump’s casino company. [Roger] Stone asked a friend to pose as the group’s leader, but Stone designed the ads and Trump signed off on them. “Roger, this could be good!” Trump scrawled on a proof of the ad with the cocaine lines and syringes, according to documents first reported last month by the Los Angeles Times. Another ad warned of the ills that casino gambling would bring to the community: “increased crime, broken families, bankruptcies, and in the case of the Mohawks, violence.” Trump paid more than $1 million for the campaign.

Trump and Stone never reported the ad spending as a lobbying effort, as state law required, and acknowledged their role only after regulators launched an investigation. In a deposition, Stone told regulators that the only reason the organization was set up was to hide Trump’s involvement because a “pro-family” group would have more credibility with the public. The state lobbying commission imposed its largest-ever civil penalty — a $250,000 fine — and Trump and his associates agreed to issue a public apology.




So, to review, Donald Trump resurrected the old racist trope of “Go back to __________” which was historically used against not just those of African decent, Hispanic or Chinese, but also those of the Jewish faith, Muslims, Catholics as well as the Irish, Polish and Italians. The racial/ethnic/religious examples I’ve listed are not all-inclusive, but the phrase is a quick way of getting a point across that an individual is not welcome, for whatever reason.


In an attempt to defend Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham stated:

“They are American citizens. They won an election. Take on their policies,” Graham advised.


Then Graham alleged:

“We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country,” Graham said, referring to Ocasio-Cortez by her initials.

But knowing that, the president should “aim higher,” he said.

During a news conference on Monday, Trump indicated he believed that Graham was advising him to wait and take aim at more powerful Democrats.

“I disagree with Lindsey. These are congresswomen. What am I supposed to do, just wait for senators?” the president said. “He said ‘aim higher, shoot higher.’ What am I going to do, wait until we get somebody else in a higher position, a higher office?”



I bolded the words Trump used to highlight that he completely missed Graham’s point regarding “aim higher” (eye-roll)


Why was “Go back to ____________”  and its sentiment even created? Well, fear of immigrant for one:






To view a larger version of this 1892 anti-semitic cartoon from Judge Magazine

Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grant_E.,_Hamilton,_Their_New_Jerusalem,_1892_Cornell_CUL_PJM_1111_01.jpg#/media/File:Grant_E.,_Hamilton,_Their_New_Jerusalem,_1892_Cornell_CUL_PJM_1111_01.jpg


Racist cartoon depicting Chinese


Racist anti Irish cartoon

Anti-Irish cartoon


Racism against Chinese


This is a White Mans Government


For more information on the sad history of “Go back to ____________” please see these articles:


The Painful Roots of Trump’s ‘Go Back’ Comment


WASHINGTON – Shelley Jackson was 7 years old the first time she heard it.

In the early 1970s, Ms. Jackson was among a group of 40 black children who were bused from one side of Los Angeles to integrate a majority-white school across town. One day, a playground squabble ended in a white classmate telling her to go back to Africa.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/us/politics/aoc-trump-tlaib-omar-pressley.html




“There has always been this xenophobia, fear of the other,” Mr. Kiewe said, “the foreigner, the person who looks different. It has hit different minorities for many decades.”

It was there in 1882, when the Chinese Exclusion Act sought to curb the number of Chinese workers and families entering the United States to find day-labor work, from building railroads to doing laundry. And it was there in the 1840s, when anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States led to the creation of a nativist political party designed to weed out foreign influence.

One of the prime examples of the “go back” sentiment has roots in the American Colonization Society, a white-led organization that sought to send freed slaves back to Africa. Fodei Batty, an assistant professor of political science at Quinnipiac University, wrote in a 2016 Washington Post analysis that some freed slaves went willingly because they were “disillusioned with the prospects of racial equality in America,” while others who wanted to stay argued that the effort to resettle slaves was a thinly veiled way to purge the United States of black people.


“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Mr. Trump said. “All I’m saying is that if they want to leave they can leave. It doesn’t say leave forever.”

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/us/politics/aoc-trump-tlaib-omar-pressley.html


“He gets us. He’s not a politician, and he’s got a backbone,” said 59-year-old Susan Misey of New Castle County, Del., a retired public-school teacher who said she was attending her first campaign rally. “He’s not afraid to say what he thinks. And what he says is what the rest of us are thinking.”



The real world consequences of using “Go Back to ___________”


Convenience store clerk says customers ‘need to go back to their country’ in video confrontation

By Chuck Johnston and David Williams, CNN

Updated 7:13 PM ET, Thu July 18, 2019


” . . . One video begins with the clerk, who has not been identified, saying something to two women about “undocumented people.”

He points at his chest and says, “I’m an American.”

One of the women then asks, “What is your problem?”

“It’s illegal,” the clerk said, which led to more arguing.

He then asked the woman, “Are you a citizen?”

“Yes,” the woman replied and then repeatedly asked, “What is your problem?”

Don’t you know the rules?” the clerk asked. “They need to go back to their country.”

The argument got more heated and one of the women threatened to call the police.

“ICE will come,” the clerk said. “You’re in the wrong country.”

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/18/us/convenience-clerk-go-back-comment-trnd/


Update: The clerk was fired after a video of this encounter was posted on the internet.





Dozens of British politicians and 14,000 supporters signed a letter of solidarity addressed to the four Democratic congresswomen who have found themselves at the center of a fierce political storm.

“We are disgusted by Donald Trump’s attack on you. His blatant, unashamed racism has appalled people around the world,” the letter stated. “Thank you for showing the world that America can still provide leadership to be proud of, even when the White House has abdicated that role.”



The Latest scam/con:


“Incredible patriots” is the new “very fine people”: Trump defends racist chants

One day after trying to distance himself from “send her back,” the president abruptly reverses course.

“Those people in North Carolina, that stadium was packed,” Trump said. “It was a record crowd and I could’ve filled it 10 times, as you know. Those are incredible people, those are incredible patriots. But I’m unhappy when a congresswoman goes and says, ‘I’m going to be the president’s nightmare.’ She’s going to be the president’s nightmare. She’s lucky to be where she is, let me tell you. And the things she has said are a disgrace to our country.”




Trump’s Attempt to spin “Go Back to_________” into “You Can Leave”


Possibly more palatable? agreeable? acceptable? to supporters of Trump who just can’t bring themselves to utter the word “racist” concerning his tweets and continued attacks on “The Squad” specifically Rep. Omar, the spin has begun on using “You can leave” in place of his original racist trope of “Go back to _______”

You see, whenever Trump shows his true colors, sycophants fall all over themselves to defend him, to claim to know what he really meant to say, etc. etc. etc. 

Trump will also try some patronizing self preservation (A$AP Rocky comes to mind) so he can point to interceding in a way to make up for “Go back to _______” AKA “You Can Leave” in an attempt to stay on the good side of the people of color who support him and Republicans who are somewhat concerned with Trump’s words of late. 


This post is still in development



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