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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities 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 Pelosi70 progressive groups call for next Foreign Affairs chair to reflect 'progressive realism' House to vote next week on ridding Capitol of Confederate statues Eye on gavel, Wasserman Schultz proposes panel on racial inequality in spending 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-CortezMan raises over 0K to purchase and donate Goya products after calls for boycott Huckabee rips Ocasio-Cortez over 'astonishing' remarks about uptick in NYC crime Black voters: We need all of them MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAnalysis: 23 million families could face eviction by October due to pandemic Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats see victory in Trump culture war The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyPressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressives zero in on another House chairman in primary 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 DavidsNative American lawmaker: 'Redskins' name change 'should have been made a long time ago' Democratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights The Hill's 12:30 Report: Fauci 'aspirationally hopeful' of a vaccine by winter 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 JeffriesReparations bill gains steam following death of George Floyd Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push The Hill's 12:30 Report: Supreme Court ruling marks big win for abortion rights groups 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.