The Burbank City Council is debating whether it should send a letter to President Donald Trump responding to his tweets last month, telling four Democratic Congresswomen to go back to where they came from.
Council members voted 4-1 during a meeting on July 30 to have Councilman Tim Murphy draft a “respectful” letter to Trump to let him know he had crossed the line with his comments.
Councilman Bob Frutos cast the lone dissenting vote, saying that while the president’s comments were wrong, he thinks local city officials should not take a stance on a national issue.
“Rock that boat as an individual, but as a council of five [who] are responsible to represent the people of Burbank, that vote nonpartisan, we need to stay focused on the issues that are nonpartisan,” Frutos said.
“On the national level, we have a Congressman that represents us. At the state level, we’ve heard our state representatives [and] how upset they are. I cannot sign a letter,” he added.
In a series of tweets posted on July 14, the president called out four Congresswomen, who are first-year House Democrats — New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — and suggested that they “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
All four Congresswomen are U.S. citizens, and all but one were born in the United States. Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City, Tlaib was born in Detroit and Pressley was born in Cincinnati. Omar is a refugee from Somalia and was naturalized in 2000.
“How dare somebody say, ‘go back to where you came from,’ ” Murphy said. “It’s unpresidential, and it shouldn’t have happened. I just thought we should do something about it.”
Vice Mayor Sharon Springer was on board with responding to Trump’s tweets, saying that she opposes what the president had said.
“I’m opposing that type of speech that’s directed at American citizens,” Springer said. “I hope that I will always have the courage to speak up.”
Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy concurred with Springer, adding that Trump’s actions give permission to others to engage in similar acts.
“The denigration of individuals without clearly addressing the policies they pursue or any level of understanding, that the leader of the free world has no responsibility to all the other residents and citizens in our country and continues to do this — to me, it’s just reprehensible,” Gabel-Luddy said.
Councilman Jess Talamantes was hesitant to support sending a letter, fearing that responding to Trump’s comments could put a target on Burbank and risk losing funding from the federal government.
However, he agreed that the president should not have made the remarks.
“If [the letter] is respectful, I’ll be more than happy to sign it,” Talamantes said.