Keep tweeting, Mr. President, and showing us who you are

Several news and political websites maintain running lists of President Donald Trump’s most offensive tweets, from his skepticism of former President Barack Obama’s birthplace to his attacks on the late U.S. Sen. John McCain to his sophomoric nicknames for fellow elected officials and world leaders.

The aggregators of those lists had yet another industrious weekend.

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At 7:27 a.m. Sunday, Trump began tweeting about four freshmen Democratic members of Congress who continually rebel against him, push for his impeachment and cause headaches within their own party via their controversial social media postings. Trump’s early Sunday targets: Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who are known as “the squad.” They are all women of color.

Trump began with a three-part tweet that read:

“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!”

Telling four women of color serving in the U.S. House to “go back” to their countries of origin struck yet another new low for a president skilled at trash talk.

Not only was his Twitter tirade error prone — all but Omar were born in the United States — it exposed Trump’s ignorance and carelessness. Advising brown-skinned members of Congress to “go back” evoked painful taunts of racism we hope every mature person in America would admonish.

Yet the bullying flowed from the fingertips of the president.

The four members of Congress Trump targeted have shared and tweeted opinions that reflected, at times, criticism of the United States and its shortcomings. That free expression is part of what makes them American. The liberty to challenge government and its leaders is fundamental to this nation’s moorings.

Trump should know.

For years he’s been a busy practitioner of free expression, of liberty.

His social media postings as a private citizen, before he was elected president, included more than 80 tweets questioning Obama’s birthplace, calling Obama “ignorant,” “welfare king,” “incompetent,” “lazy” and the nation’s “worst president” ever.

Trump’s thin-skinned reactions to criticism are, of course, nothing new. His critics and supporters have long lamented his presence on social media and pleaded that he shut down his Twitter account.

No. He should keep it up.

Show the American people more of what’s in your heart, Mr. President.

Make it harder for your allies to defend you.

Sunlight is always the best disinfectant.

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Tweet away.

— Chicago Tribune

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