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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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 OmarTrump to return to North Carolina to stump for special election candidate Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Dangers loom for Trump on immigration Students retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota MORE (D-N.Y.) Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMichigan city declines to renew contract with ICE to hold detainees Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas NJ college censures trustee over posts targeting 'the squad' 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 HarrisConservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump creates new firestorm with 'go back' remarks 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.