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Trump renews verbal attacks

July 20, 2019

In the face of widespread criticism, US President Donald Trump has defended his racist attacks against four Democratic congresswomen. One of the president's targets said he was "spewing fascist ideology."

US President Donald Trump makes a fist
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Balce Ceneta

A day after saying his audience at a campaign rally in North Carolina went too far in chanting "Send her back!" about a Somalia-born congresswoman, President Donald Trump has defended the crowd members as "incredible patriots."

Speaking on the White House South Lawn on Friday, Trump renewed his verbal diatribe against four Democratic congresswomen of color. He defended his remarks directed toward Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, in which he told the four women to "go back" to where they came from if they didn't like the United States. All four women are US citizens.

"Yeah, they have First Amendment rights, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about them," Trump said, referring to the amendment in the US Constitution that protects freedom of speech. "And again, we have First Amendment rights also. We can certainly feel what and say what we want."

Trump said Omar, a Somalia-born representative who arrived in the US as a refugee with her family in 1992, is "lucky to be where she is, let me tell you, and the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country."

On Thursday, Omar — one of only three Muslims in the US House of Representatives — criticized Trump's comments and said the president was "spewing fascist ideology."

Ocasio-Cortez: 'We will move forward'

Trump said he did not care if his attacks on the congresswomen, known in Washington as "the squad," helped him politically.

"I don't know if it's good or bad politically, I don't care," he said. "If the Democrats want to embrace people that hate our country ... it's up to them."

The row between Trump and the congresswomen has sparked outrage from many Democrats and some Republicans. Members of the Trump administration and others in the president's party have either remained silent or supported the president and his verbal attacks.

On Friday, Ocasio-Cortez criticized Republicans who justified Trump's remarks. In a tweet, she said the Republican Party "wants to send us ... back towards injustice, back to the denial of science, back to the times when women needed permission slips from men, back to racism."

dv/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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