Illinois Democrats are blasting a social media post by a prominent Republican group, condemning it as “racist and inflammatory.”
The image, posted by the Illinois Republican County Chairman's Association, features a mock movie poster entitled “The Jihad Squad,” features Congresswomen Ilhan Omar (MN), Ayanna Pressley (MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Rashida Tlaib (MI), and has the tag line “political jihad is their game:”
The inflammatory post was made in reference to controversial comments made by President Donald Trump about the four women. Last weekend, the president said that the four members of Congress should go back to the “crime infested places (they originally came from).” During a campaign rally a few days later, crowds chanted “send her back,” and the president has since made conflicting statements about whether he endorsed the chants.
Prominent Republicans have disputed that the comments were racially motivated, but in Illinois, the social media post on a Republican Facebook page was immediately condemned by online commenters and numerous prominent Democratic groups, including the Cook County Democratic Party.
“The post perpetuates the recent attacks by President Trump, promoting lies and racism to alienate immigrants, women, and people of color,” Cook County Democratic Chairwoman Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “This language of hatred and bigotry has no room in our society and has dangerous consequences.
“Today we stand in solidarity with Congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib, who represent diversity in our nation.”
The image was deleted by the group on Sunday, and was replaced by a post apologizing for the incident.
“A couple of days ago, an image which was not authorized by me was posted on the Facebook page of the Illinois Republican County Chairman’s Association,” President Mark Shaw said. “I condemn this unauthorized posting and it has been deleted. I am sorry if anyone who saw the image was offended by the contents.”
Shaw said that that the group has a “multi-stage” approval process for social media posts, and that it is “re-evaluating” that process in the wake of the posting.
Cook County Republican Party Chairman Sean Morrison denounced the posting, saying that he was “appalled” by the image.
“There are civil ways to express political differences that do not involve going to racist extremes,” he said. “The Illinois Republican County Chairman’s Association’s post only serves to further the hateful divide within our country, when she should instead strive for an intelligent, civil and thoughtful discussion of the philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats.”
Illinois Republican Chairman Tim Schneider also condemned the post, saying that it does not reflect the values of the state party.
“Bigoted rhetoric greatly distracts from legitimate and important policy debates and further divides our nation,” he said. “My intense disagreement with the socialist policies and anti-Semitic language of these four congresswomen has absolutely nothing to do with their race or religion.”