Kumail Nanjiani and other celebs send Trump a message: ‘We won’t go back’

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani had a personal reaction to President Trump’s “go back” Twitter message.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

President Trump tweeted out a message to four freshmen congresswomen of color Sunday, crudely urging them to “go back” to their home countries and fix problems there before opining on how the United States should be run. Celebrities Kumail Nanjiani, Padma Lakshmi and George Takei were among those who took it personally.

“I’ve heard ‘Go back to your country’ many many times. Most recently was about a month and a half ago in LA. It hurts my feelings every time,” wrote “Stuber” star Nanjiani, who was born in Pakistan.

“‘Go back to your country’ is a taunt immigrant kids hear on the playground, it’s a threat I get from unhinged people in my DMs, and it’s also something the President of the United States says to strong women of color who oppose him,” Indian immigrant and “Top Chef” host Lakshmi tweeted. “It’s rooted in centuries of ignorance, violence and white supremacy. This man does not represent us. And in 2020 we will vote him ... out.”

“Star Trek” alumnus George Takei, whose father emigrated from Japan, put his feelings in a broader context.

“Trump wants minority Congresswomen to ‘go back’ to their home countries. He wants our country to ‘go back’ to a time where racism and sexism were encouraged. No, Mr. Trump, sorry. We won’t go back. We will go forward. And we will leave you and your ilk far, far behind,” Takei tweeted.

Other notables tweeting their thoughts included comic Hari Kondabolu and hip-hop artist Luther “Luke” Campbell, formerly of the 2 Live Crew.


Here’s Trump’s full comment, which was sent over three tweets.

“So interesting to see ‘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 (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly ... and 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. Then come back and show us how ... it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

House Democrats widely interpreted the tweets as a slam against the women of color who have dubbed themselves “the squad”: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). While the four have been outspoken in their advocacy of more progressive policies, only Omar was born outside the U.S.

On Monday, the House of Representatives was preparing to vote on a resolution to condemn what the House majority leader called Trump’s “xenophobic” tweets. The resolution was being written, Pelosi said, by representatives who were born abroad.