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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day 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 PelosiVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina 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-CortezTrump tweet mocking Greta Thunberg sparks backlash The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasts Tucker Carlson as 'white supremacist sympathizer' MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire Booker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair 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 DavidsDemocrat representing Pennsylvania district Trump carried plans to vote to impeach  Vulnerable Democrats feel heat ahead of impeachment vote Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' 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 JeffriesJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - An unusual day: Impeachment plus a trade deal 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.