Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said on Monday that it's "outrageous" to call President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE's tweets telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back" to their countries racist. 
 
"That's outrageous. Of course they're not racist," Perdue, a close Trump ally who is up for reelection in 2020, said when a reporter noted that some used that term to describe the president's rhetoric.
 
Perdue's comments came after Trump sparked widespread backlash among Democrats as well as a growing number of Republicans when he targeted a group of unidentified progressive congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe."
 
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In the tweets, which appeared to be directed at Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWhat to watch in New Jersey's primaries on Tuesday Democratic strategist Andrew Feldman says Biden is moving left Hispanic Caucus asks Trump to rescind invitation to Mexican president MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid Ocasio-Cortez pitches interns to work for her instead of McConnell MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressives zero in on another House chairman in primary Ocasio-Cortez pitches interns to work for her instead of McConnell MORE (Mass.), the president said they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."  
 
Trump doubled down on his comments Monday during an event at the White House, denying that he was being racist and expressing no remorse when told that white nationalist groups found common cause with his message.

“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House during an event designed to highlight American manufacturing.
 
Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstTrump renews culture war, putting GOP on edge The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump's job approval erodes among groups that powered his 2016 victory Senate outlook slides for GOP MORE (R-Iowa), a member of GOP leadership who is also up for reelection in 2020, told reporters she believes Trump's tweets were racist. 
 
Other Senate Republicans stopped short of calling Trump's remarks racist. 
 
Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsRomney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Susan Collins signals she won't campaign against Biden Graham challenger Harrison raises record-shattering .9 million for SC Senate bid MORE (R-Maine), who is up for reelection in 2020, urged Trump to delete his tweets. Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiRomney, Collins, Murkowski won't attend GOP convention Senators will have access to intelligence on Russian bounties on US troops Overnight Defense: Lawmakers demand answers on reported Russian bounties for US troops deaths in Afghanistan | Defense bill amendments target Germany withdrawal, Pentagon program giving weapons to police MORE (R-Alaska) called his comments "spiteful," and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham challenger Harrison raises record-shattering .9 million for SC Senate bid Trump renews culture war, putting GOP on edge Bubba Wallace responds to Trump: 'Even when it's HATE from the POTUS.. Love wins' MORE (R-S.C.) urged him to avoid personal attacks. 
 
 
"Identify politics is a poison. It's toxic. ... The president shouldn't have written that. I think it damages him. It damages the country," he said. 
 
When a reporter noted that if another individual made comments similar to Trump's they would be viewed as racist, Rubio added, "Most certainly I think people could take it that way, be offended by it." 
 
 
"I …  actually, honestly, haven't read anything except what you all have reported. But the reality is that I want to shift back onto the issues," Tillis said. 
 
Pressed about whether he thought Trump's tweets were racist, Tillis added, "I literally don't go on Twitter."