Kasich calls on Republicans to condemn 'deplorable' Trump tweets

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Monday called on his fellow Republicans to condemn a series of tweets from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE in which he told a group of Democratic congresswomen that they should "go back" to the countries they came from.

"What @realDonaldTrump said about Democrat women in Congress is deplorable and beneath the dignity of the office," Kasich, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, tweeted.

"We all, including Republicans, need to speak out against these kinds of comments that do nothing more than divide us and create deep animosity — maybe even hatred," he added.

"At the base of America is a Jewish and Christian tradition that says that we must realize that we are all brothers and sisters," he tweeted in a subsequent post. "Rhetoric like the President’s works against that foundation of our country and all that we teach our children."

Trump in a set of tweets Sunday targeted an unidentified group of progressive congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe."

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In the tweets, which seemed to be directed at Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarNorth Dakota GOP state lawmaker shares debunked photo, calls Omar a 'terrorist' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic strategist: Sanders seeking distance from Warren could 'backfire' These 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump CBS to Ocasio-Cortez on Sanders support: 'As a woman of color, why back an old white guy?' MORE (D-N.Y.) 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 PressleyThese 3 women are defining the race to unseat Trump Ocasio-Cortez mourns Cummings: 'A devastating loss for our country' Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings MORE (D-Mass.), the president suggested they "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

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 in another country.

While Democrats have widely condemned the attacks on the first-year lawmakers as racist, the majority of Republicans have remained silent.

Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisHouse conservatives attempt to access closed-door impeachment hearing GOP lawmakers, states back gunmaker in Sandy Hook appeal Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess MORE (R-Md.) defended Trump's tweets Monday morning, arguing the comments are "obviously not racist."

"Well, ask the president what he meant by it, but clearly it's not a racist comment. He could have meant go back to the district they came from, to the neighborhood they came from," Harris told a Baltimore radio station, despite Trump specifying "countries" in his tweets.

Kasich, who did not label the tweets racist, has been a frequent critic of Trump's and previously weighed launching a primary challenge in 2020 but later backed down, saying “there is no path right now for me.”
 
Updated at 11:47 a.m.