PRESIDENT Donald Trump has launched a fresh attack on the four female Democrat politicians he told to “go back” to the “crime infested places” they came from – claiming they are “weak and insecure people incapable of loving our country”.
The race row deepened when a crowd at a Trump rally in North Carolina last week chanted “send her back” at Representative Ilhan Omar, who was born in Somalia, but become an American citizen as a teen.
President Trump has since tried to distance himself from his supporters’ chants – claiming he disagreed with it and “doesn’t have a racist bone” in his body.
However he went to attack Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Omar again today on Twitter.
He said: “I don’t believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country. They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said.
“They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!”
The furore started when Mr Trump told the Democrats to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”.
His series of tweets concluded: “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!”
His rhetoric prompted a chant of “send her back” directed at Ms Omar from his supporters at a rally on Thursday.
The chanting was reminiscent of calls to “lock her up” during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Ms Omar slammed the President for his offensive language saying: “He’s spewing his fascist ideology on stage, telling US citizens to go back because they don’t agree with his detrimental policies for our country.”
She added: “We have condemned his remarks. I believe he is fascist. This is what this president and his supporters have turned our country into.”
In characteristic fashion, Mr Trump defended his comments about the congresswomen, tweeting: “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”
He added: “I felt a little bit badly about it…I would say that I was not happy with it. I disagreed with it. But again I didn’t say that. They did. And I disagreed with.”
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However, during his rally, Mr Trump listened to the chants from the crowd for 13 seconds before resuming his verbal attack.
The following day he made clear he was not disavowing the chant and again attacked Ms Omar, who has been criticised for appearing to downplay the 9/11 attacks by describing them in March as “some people did some-thing.”
The Muslim congresswoman also came under fire this year for suggesting the loyalty of Congress members was bought by Israeli interests. She was forced to apologise for what were seen as antisemitic remarks.
Mr Trump said: “You can’t talk that way about our country. Not when I’m president. These women have said horrible things about our country and the people of our country.”
Ms Omar’s brief political career has also been dogged by controversies in her private life.
When she first successfully ran for office in Minnesota in 2016, conservative bloggers claimed she had been married to two men at the same time, for immigration fraud purposes, and that one of those men, Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, was her brother.
Ms Omar has called those allegations “disgusting lies”.
Ilhan Omar speaks on stage during a town hall meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota