Reason Roundup

Trump Says Congresswomen He Told to 'Go Back' to Countries They 'Originally Came From' Should 'Apologize to Our Country'

Plus: blockchain battles in Congress, mandating diaper tables in men's rooms, and more...


U.S.-born politicians come "from most corrupt and inept" country? Unsurprisingly, when the president of the United States tweets that American-born women of color in Congress should go back to their own countries, it touches off a round of holy crap, this is bad even by Donald Trump standards condemnation. Also unsurprising: Trump and his administration have responded with a weird mix of doubling down, playing dumb, and insisting that it's everyone criticizing them who are the real racists.

The story began Sunday, when Trump complained on Twitter about the "'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen" who "originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world." These women were now "viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Trump never calls out the "'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen" by name, but references in this and a subsequent round of tweets make it clear that he's talking about some or all of the left-leaning "squad" of congresswomen in a high-profile tiff with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D–N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D–Mass.), Ilan Omar (D–Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D–Mich.). All are women of color, and all except Omar—who came here as a teenager—were born in the U.S.

"To tell these American citizens (most of whom were born here) to 'go back' to the 'crime infested places from which they came' is racist and disgusting," tweeted Rep. Justin Amash in response.

"At this point, after those tweets, what is the factual objection to describing the president as a white nationalist?" asked economist and writer Dan Drezner.

The British prime minister's office said Trump's tweets were "completely unacceptable." Joe Biden tweeted that "racism and xenophobia have no place in America" and Bernie Sanders said that "this is what I'm talking about" when he calls the president racist. "2020 candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), Kamala Harris (D–Cali.), Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), and nearly every other Democratic presidential hopeful stood together in calling Donald Trump a 'racist' on Sunday," notes Newsweek.

Monday morning, the administration went into spin mode, with flacks like Mike Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, going on TV to argue that Trump had no "racist motives" and was simply condemning certain women's lack of love for America. As evidence, Short offered up the fact that Elaine Chao, "an Asian woman of color," is transportation secretary.

This morning, Trump refused to back down, tweeting that "the Radical Left Congresswomen" need to "apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!" He condemned Democrats for "unit[ing] around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen," adding that "I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S."

In classic Trumpian style, the president ignores the substance of the criticisms of him while doubling down on the spirit of the original complaint (that these women are insufficiently deferential to America) and adding another angle (language, ladies!). Pay no attention to those comments about their shithole countries, it's just that they cuss to much…

A few more responses:


"If we are to secure our data in an increasingly digital world, should we expect government to singularly and effectively do the job for us? I would argue, no," writes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in The New York Times. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy with pro-decentralization, pro-blockchain op-ed. More:

Some politicians, primarily those running for president, have called for brute government intervention, including breaking up big companies like Google or Facebook. This clarion call has the benefit of simplicity, but has failed to explain how it will increase security for our data. What does forcing Facebook to sell WhatsApp have to do with Facebook or WhatsApp collecting, exploiting and selling our data?

Others are calling for invasive congressional regulation. But as history tells us, overly broad and indiscriminate regulation often insulates the incumbents and boxes out the upstarts and smaller firms—a consequence we've experienced with the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law. Even Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, acknowledged this possible outcome to Congress a year ago.

Unsurprisingly, these remedies lean on the premise that only government can solve market inefficiencies that lead to irresponsible corporate behavior.

I don't think we should feel confident that the bureaucratic leviathan has what it takes to develop or enforce nimble responses to rapid change in the technology industry.

Whole thing here.


Democrats want to keep "Big Tech" and cryptocurrency from mixing. Facebook's plans for "Libra" have prompted a backlash among congressional Democrats. Reuters reports:

A proposal to prevent big technology companies from functioning as financial institutions or issuing digital currencies has been circulated for discussion by the Democratic majority that leads the House Financial Services Committee, according to a copy of the draft legislation seen by Reuters.

Reuters says that Republicans would hate it, but who knows these days, given the anti-tech, anti-market conservatism that's been manifesting more and more.


  • D.C. "may join New York and California in passing a law that makes bathroom changing tables equally available to fathers," reports The Washington Post.
  • More details on the federal sex crime allegations against singer R. Kelly, who is charged, among other offenses, with violating the Mann Act. "A weird and forgotten case from the 1990s shows how connected Jeffrey Epstein was to power"; the case, writes Rosie Gray, features "a mansion that embroiled him in a dispute involving a lawyer for French Connection heroin ring suspects, the State Department, and transitively the government of Iran."
  • Peter Thiel is accusing Google of treason.
  • The mass ICE raids threatened by the Trump administration thankfully failed to materialize.