A Cambodian government spokesperson said on Thursday U.S. officials can leave if they “don’t like the country,” echoing President TrumpDonald John TrumpComedy Central shoots down Trump Jr. after he joked network should host Democratic debates Booker: If Obama was running for a third term, 'I wouldn't be running' De Blasio releases plan to substantially raise taxes on the rich, corporations MORE’s comments last month telling four minority congresswomen to “go back” where they came from.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh posted on Facebook to mark the first anniversary of “deeply flawed national elections in Cambodia.”
“That vote was neither free nor fair, and it failed to represent the will of the Cambodian people,” the U.S. Embassy said.
In response, Cambodian government spokesperson Phay Siphan said that U.S. officials should not make “barbaric comments,” according to Reuters.
“Although we are friends, if these officials don’t like Cambodia, they should pack up and leave. Let me be clear: We don’t welcome you,” Siphan told reporters.
He said he was referencing Trump’s tweets last month telling progressive Democrat congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
“We have the same right to speak as President Donald Trump. It’s simple. If you don’t like it here, leave,” Siphan continued.
Trump faced widespread backlash and accusations of racism over the tweet, backlash that was reignited after a crowd chanted “send her back” during the president’s campaign rally in North Carolina last month as he attacked Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarCambodia cites Trump, saying US embassy officials 'should pack up an leave' if they don't like it there Republican congressman hopes Trump crowd will avoid 'send her back' chants at Ohio rally Pressley calls on Meadows to 'do the right thing' over '4 Horsemen' gun shop billboard MORE (D-Minn.), a Somali American.
Trump has denied the charges of racism and said he disagreed with the chants.
Reuters noted that Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party won all 125 seats in the country’s parliament during the election last year, which followed the dissolution of the country’s opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, by the nation's supreme court.
The U.S. Embassy's Facebook post also called on the country’s government to drop all charges against Kem Sohka, the leader of the Cambodia National Rescue party. Sohka spent 12 months in pre-trial detention before being released on bail for treason charges, The Guardian reported.
“All in Cambodia should be able to exercise their rights to express their views freely and to assemble peacefully, and for citizens to take part in the conduct of public affairs,” the post continued.