Trump doubles down after telling Democratic congresswomen to 'go back' to their countries

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE on Sunday night doubled down amid a growing backlash over his earlier tweets telling a group of Democratic congresswomen that they should "go back" to the countries that they came from.

"So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion. Whenever confronted, they call their adversaries, including Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats hammer abuse of power charge, allege Trump put self over country Overnight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides Pelosi slams Trump administration's new water rule: 'An outrageous assault' MORE, 'RACIST,'" Trump said in a pair of tweets.

"Their disgusting language and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged. If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior, then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020!" he continued.

Trump was responding to outrage over comments he made earlier on Sunday in which he targeted a group of unnamed progressive congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe."

In the tweets, which appeared to be directed at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezBiden to go on Iowa tour with swing district lawmakers CNN cancels next week's Iowa town halls Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez hit back at JPMorgan CEO over comments on socialism: 'That's funny' MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders wants one-on-one fight with Biden Democrats press Trump administration to stop DNA collection from detained migrants Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPressley says she 'would welcome the opportunity' to educate DeVos after abortion, slavery comparison Massachusetts governor apologizes after calling Pressley speech a 'rant' Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive MORE (D-Mass.), the president suggested they "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Trump's comments were swiftly condemned as racist by his critics. All four of the freshman congresswomen are U.S. citizens, and only Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, was born outside the U.S.

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The furor over Trump's tweets offered an increasingly fractious Democratic Party the chance to unify in its criticism of the president. The party has been riven by infighting over the past week, sparked by an interview Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave to The New York Times last Sunday in which she made remarks about the freshman congresswomen that were seen by some as dismissive. 

The tensions within the party escalated after Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post that she felt Pelosi was targeting women of color, though the New York Democrat said she doesn't believe the Speaker is racist.

The dispute was further amplified on Friday after the House Democratic Caucus's official Twitter account tore into Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, over comments he made about Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsHaaland, Davids included in 'Jeopardy' clue for historic first as Native American congresswomen The Hill's Morning Report - Vulnerable Dems are backing Trump impeachment Vulnerable Democrats signal support for impeachment articles this week MORE (D-Kan.), who is Native American.

Nonetheless, Trump's tweets Sunday provided Democrats with an opportunity to show a united front, however temporary. 

Democrats across the spectrum, from Ocasio-Cortez's fellow progressives to close Pelosi allies such as Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHakeem Jeffries tells Senate in impeachment proceedings they should subpoena Baseball Hall of Fame after Jeter vote Video becomes vital part of Democrats' case against Trump Female impeachment managers say American public know a 'rigged' trial when they see one MORE (D-N.Y.), denounced the tweets, with Jeffries calling Trump a "racial arsonist."

Trump waded into the intraparty dispute earlier in the week, telling reporters that he felt Ocasio-Cortez was being "disrespectful" to Pelosi.