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Florida Insider Poll: Most say those Trump tweets were racist

But they also think that ‘The Squad’ have hurt the Democratic Party more than have helped.
President Donald Trump speaks during his re-election kickoff rally at the Amway Center, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Published Aug. 1
Updated Aug. 1

Yes, President Donald Trump’s “go back” where you came from tweets were racist.

That’s according to a majority of a wide spectrum of Florida Political Insiders regularly polled by the Tampa Bay Times.

The tweets — which were sent only a couple weeks ago but already feel ancient — were aimed at four freshman Congresswoman known as “The Squad." They’re all women of color and despite the language Trump used, three were born in the United States. The fourth, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, is a Somali-born U.S. citizen.

“Although Trump denies his tweets were racist, they were and they were specifically designed to stimulate his base,” one Independent said. “It would be nice to see someone in the Republican Party exhibit a ‘profile in courage’ and attack Trump and his disastrous policies.”

Results of the July Florida Insider Poll.

Added a Democrat: “I’ve personally been asked, ‘Where are you from?’ simply because my complexion is as unique as my background. When you tell someone to ‘go back to where they came from’ and it’s directed at black or brown people, it is degrading, dehumanizing, and it’s racist. ... This kind of vile racism displayed by Trump and his gang of kowtowing apologists represents a disgusting, vile, and anti-American attack that is beneath the dignity of any public office, let alone the President of the United States of America.”

Nearly nine in 10 of the Democratic and Independent or no-party affiliation politicos said those tweets were racist.

Those registered as Republicans, though, were less willing to call out their party’s president, even anonymously, and only one third thought they were racist. About half the poll respondents were Republicans.

A recent POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found 53 percent of Americans said these tweets were racist and about as many said Trump himself is racists — a 6-point increase from January. And while few Republicans agreed, at least half of them said his tweets were inappropriate.

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“Once again, our Carnival Barker in Chief has played the Democrats and media for the suckers born every minute that they are,” a Republican said. "The most recent tweet and ‘send her back’ controversy has simply dug people deeper into their foxholes - for or against him - and sent the rest of us searching for reruns of The Office to watch instead of the news.”

Still, few think the tweets and the ensuing “send her back chants” at one of his rallies will affect Trump’s odds at reelection. Nearly two thirds of the Insiders said the controversy will have no bearing on 2020, no matter how much time Democratic presidential candidates spend talking about it.

(Insiders were sent this month’s survey before Trump’s encore social media attack on U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland.)

Meanwhile, there’s widespread agreement — even among Democrats — that the Squad is hurting its party more than helping.

Asked if the emergence of Reps. Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have benefited Democrats, 82 percent of the nearly 200 campaign staff, party leaders, consultants, operatives, fundraisers, prognosticators and others polled said no.

That includes two-thirds of Democrats who participated.

“Those four don’t represent the majority of the Democratic Party, and are the gift that keeps on giving to Republicans,” one Democrat said. “The Democrats will beat Trump unless we’re seen as scary foreign socialists. He’s trying to run against the Squad, not against the eventual Democratic nominee.”

Others said Democrats marginalize these powerful and young new voices at their own peril.

“Any attempt to lay a potential Democratic loss in 2020 at the feet of the new generation of leadership emerging from the Democratic Party is weak and misguided,” a Democrat said. “The establishment political power brokers are making a big mistake by continuing to minimize their voices as a futile effort to chase the “moderate” vote.”

Finally, anyone expecting House Democrats to start the impeachment process against Trump shouldn’t hold their breath.

Seven in 10 of the Insiders don’t expect an impeachment inquiry this year. Notably, the question was asked before Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s House testimony. Perhaps that has moved the needle — though who knows in what direction.

The Times regularly surveys some of Florida’s most plugged in politicos. We allow participants to weigh-in anonymously to encourage honesty from people closely involved in the political process, but we always print the name of all the participants. This month’s Florida Insiders are:

Gayle Andrews, Erin Aebel, Tom Alte, Dave Aronberg, Brad Ashwell, Rick Asnani, Jon M. Ausman, Roger Austin, Ryan Banfill, Christina Barker, Michael Barnett, Scott Barnhart, Rodney Barreto, Ashley Bauman, Geoffrey Becker, Sam Bell, Allan Bense, Wayne Bertsch, Barney Bishop III, Greg Blair, Matt Bryan, Bob Buckhorn, Dominic M. Calabro, Tim Canova, Al Cardenas, Chip Case, Kevin Cate, Chris Cate, Mitch Ceasar, Jim Cherry, Jean Clements, Alan Clendenin , Brad Coker, Robert Coker, Hunter Conrad, Gus Corbella, Jon Costello, Brian Crowley, Husein Cumber, David Custin, Justin Day, Richard DeNapoli, Pablo Diaz, Victor DiMaio, Tony DiMatteo, Michael Dobson, Doc Dockery, Paula Dockery, John Dowless, Bob Doyle, Pete Dunbar, barry edwards, Eric Eikenberg, Mike Fasano, Cesar Fernandez, Mark Ferrulo, Marty Fiorentino, Mark Foley, Kirk Fordham, Towson Fraser, Keith Frederick, Ellen Freidin, John French, Jack Furnari, Tom Gaitens, Eduard Gamarra, Wayne Garcia, Stephen Gaskill, Josh Geise, Steve Geller, Richard Gentry, Julia Gill Woodward, Susan Glickman, Brian Goff, Cindy Graves, Shannon Gravitte, Jennifer Green, Ron Greenstein , Thomas Grigsby, Joe Gruters, Stephanie Grutman Zauder, Mike Hamby, Marion Hammer, Abel Harding, James Harris, Jeff Hartley, Jack Hebert, Rich Heffley, Cynthia Henderson, Ann Herberger, Max Herrle, Don Hinkle, Tyler Hudson, Aubrey Jewett, Jeff Johnson, Christina Johnson, David Johnson, Stafford Jones, Eric Jotkoff, Fred Karlinsky, Joshua Karp, Henry Kelley, Erik Kirk, John Konkus, Chris Korge, Jeff Kottkamp, Kartik Krishnaiyer, Stephanie Kunkel, Zachary Learner, bill lee, Jackie Lee, Matt Lettelleir, Jack Levine, Tom Lewis, Bethany Leytham, Nikki Lowrey, Javier Manjarres, Roly Marante, William March, Beth Matuga, Brian May, Kim McDougal, Nancy McGowan, Clarence Mckee, Seth McKee, Kathy Mears, David Mica, Jamie Miller, Jon Mills, Frank Mirabella, Paul Mitchell, Travis Moore, Lucy Morgan, John Morgsn, Pat Neal, Bridget Nocco, Edie Ousley , Maurizio Passariello, Alex Patton, Darryl Paulson, Jorge Pedraza, scott peelen, Juan Penalosa, Evelyn Perez-Verdia, Joe Perry, Ron Pierce, JC Planas, Van Poole, David Ramba, David Rancourt, Susannah Randolph, Marc Reichelderfer, George Riley, Jim Rimes, Terrie Rizzo, Pat Roberts, Jason Rosenberg, Sarah Rumpf, Ron Sachs, Thomas Scarritt, Steve Schale , Tom Scherberger, April Schiff, Bud Shorstein , Kyle Simon, alex sink, Patrick Slevin, Susan Smith, Eleanor Sobel, Alan Stonecipher, Nancy Ann Texeira, Phillip Thompson, Cory Tilley, Greg C. Truax, Frank Tsamoutales, Greg Turbeville, Jason Unger, Karen Unger, Matthew Van Name, Steven Vancore, Ashley Walker, Peter Wallace, Robert Watkins, Kevin Watson, Screven Watson, Mike Williams, Jamie Wilson, Gregory Wilson, Leslie Wimes, Zachariah Zachariah, Eric Zichella, Christian Ziegler, Mark Zubaly.

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