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Trump's racist tweets

Injecting race into his criticism of liberal Democrats, President Donald Trump said four congresswomen of colour should go back to the "broken and crime infested" countries they came from, ignoring the fact that all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the U.S. His attack drew a searing condemnation from Democrats who labeled the remarks racist and breathtakingly divisive.

Even as White House officials moved Monday to defend his incendiary weekend tweets, Trump refused to apologize and instead asked on Twitter when "the Radical Left Congresswomen" would "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!" he wrote.

Asked whether Trump's comments were racist, Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice-President Mike Pence, defended Trump, telling reporters he had been responding to "very specific" comments made by Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia, and was not making a "universal statement."

But Trump didn't make that distinction in his tweets. He cited "Congresswomen" — an almost-certain reference to a group of women known as "the squad" that includes Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

"I don't think that the president's intent any way is racist," said Short, repeatedly pointing to Trump's decision to choose Elaine Chao, who was born outside the country, as his transportation secretary.

"The administration is welcoming of all nationalities into the United States," he said.

Even as Short spoke, Trump, who has a long history of making racist remarks, continued to fan the flames, tweeting that, "If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out."



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