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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' 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 PelosiTurkey sanctions face possible wall in GOP Senate Trump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Thomas D'Alesandro III, brother of Nancy Pelosi, dies at 90 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-CortezOcasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOcasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibOcasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make Ocasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOcasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings Omar endorses Sanders presidential bid 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 DavidsHere are the Democrats who aren't co-sponsoring an assault weapons ban Centrist House Democrats press for committees to follow pay-go rule Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff to leave her office 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 JeffriesLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings House chairman: Pompeo not complying with impeachment inquiry Sunday shows - Second whistleblower grabs spotlight 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.