Trump digs in on tweets against lawmakers, says ‘if you're not happy here, you can leave'
WASHINGTON - President Trump was unbowed by criticism of his incendiary tweets against four U.S. congresswomen of color, saying, "If you're not happy here, then you can leave."
Trump said Monday at the White House, "If you're not happy in the U.S., if you're complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave, you can leave right now."
"These are people who hate our country," Trump added.
But all four of the congresswomen are U.S. citizens. They include Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Only Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born, though she has been a U.S. citizen since her youth.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House will vote on a resolution condemning Trump's tweets telling the four Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back" to their countries.
Pelosi on Monday said Trump "went beyond his own low standards using disgraceful language about members of Congress" and said his xenophobic and "disgusting" comments cannot stand without rebuttal.
Pelosi has called on lawmakers from both major political parties to support the resolution, which will cite former President Ronald Reagan's last speech as president in which he thanked immigrants, adding that if the U.S. "ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost."
The resolution is sponsored by New Jersey Democratic Rep. Tom Malinowski, who was born in Poland and joined by others born outside the U.S.
Trump continued on Monday to shrug off sharp criticism for his incendiary tweets on Sunday assailing the four congresswomen. His tweets echoed racist taunts long used to insult non-white people.
"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..." he tweeted.
"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!" he said in a third tweet.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in reply, "You are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda."
"Mr. President, the country I 'come from,' & the country we all swear to, is the United States," she tweeted, adding that, "You rely on a frightened America for your plunder."
Omar also addressed Trump directly in a tweet, writing: "You are stoking white nationalism (because) you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda."
A relative of Tlaib living in the West Bank said Trump is an anti-Palestinian racist.
Bassam Tlaib, an uncle of the congresswoman, called the president's comments "a racist statement meant to target Rashida because she is from Palestinian roots."
He said it "proves that Trump is anti-Palestinian, anti-Islam and completely biased with Israel."
Pelosi said Trump wants to "make America white again."
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential front-runner, tweeted Sunday that Trump "continues to spew hateful rhetoric, sow division, and stoke racial tensions for his own political gain."
"Let's be clear about what this vile comment is: A racist and xenophobic attack on Democratic congresswomen," tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate.
While Democrats have continued to effusively criticize Trump, virtually all congressional Republicans have remained silent.
But John Kasich, a former governor of Ohio and a former member of Congress, said in a statement Monday that Republicans must speak out against comments that "create deep animosity — maybe even hatred."
Kasich said Trump's comments contradict the "foundation of our country and all that we teach our children," adding that the comments are "deplorable and beneath the dignity of the office."
Kasich sought the presidential nomination as a moderate.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is advising Trump to "aim higher." Graham, a close ally of Trump who golfed with the president over the weekend, offered the advice in an interview with "Fox & Friends" Monday morning.
He said the lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, "are American citizens" who were "duly elected," and says Trump should "take on their policies" instead of launching personal attacks.
Two close U.S. allies are condemning President Donald Trump's incendiary weekend tweets about four Democratic congresswomen.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Trump's comments about the congresswomen are "not how we do things in Canada."
Trudeau said Monday "Canadians and indeed people around the world know exactly what I think about those particular comments."
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said the prime minister thinks "the language which was used to refer to the women was completely unacceptable."
Trump made clear that he had no intention of backing down. Instead, Trump tweeted Monday that the congresswomen ought to apologize for past remarks about Israel and about him.
"When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!"
It was yet another sign that Trump, who won the presidency in 2016 in part by energizing disaffected voters with incendiary racial rhetoric, has no intention of backing away from that strategy going in 2020. It was far from the first time that he has been accused of holding racist views. Trump has faced few consequences for such attacks, which typically earn him cycles of front-page media attention.
In his campaign kickoff in June 2015, Trump deemed many Mexican immigrants "rapists." In 2017, he said there good people on "both sides" of the clash in Charlottesville, Virginia, between white supremacists and anti-racist demonstrators that left one counter-protester dead. Last year, during a private White House meeting on immigration, Trump wondered why the United States was admitting so many immigrants from "s---hole countries," in reference to African nations.
Repeatedly, Trump has painted arriving immigrants as an "infestation" and he has been slow in condemning acts of violence committed by white supremacists. He launched his political career with false claims that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.