Trump defends tweets as 'not at all' racist

President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE on Monday denied he was being racist this weekend when he told four Democratic congresswomen of color to “go back” to their home countries, even though they are U.S. citizens. 

“Not at all,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if his tweets about the lawmakers were racist. “If somebody has a problem with our country, if somebody doesn’t want to be in our country, they should leave.”

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Trump declined to specify the members he was targeting, telling reporters “I think you can guess” when asked to name them.

The president’s remarks were aimed at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Sanders-Biden climate task force calls for carbon-free power by 2035 | Park Police did not record radio transmissions during June 1 sweep of White House protesters | Court upholds protections for Yellowstone grizzly bears Biden-Sanders 'unity task force' rolls out platform recommendations Sanders-Biden climate task force calls for carbon-free power by 2035 MORE (D-N.Y.), 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.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressives zero in on another House chairman in primary Ocasio-Cortez pitches interns to work for her instead of McConnell MORE (D-Mass.) and Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' The Hill's Campaign Report: Colorado, Utah primary results bring upsets, intrigue Progressive lawmakers call for conditions on Israel aid MORE (D-Minn.) The first three were all born in the U.S., and the last is a naturalized citizen who was a refugee from Somalia.

Trump cut himself off after engaging in reporters' questions at an event highlighting American-made products, saying “this is really about economic development” and “I’m going to discuss the issues.” 

Earlier Monday morning, the president escalated his attacks on the group of progressive Democrats known as "the squad," who have been deeply critical of his hard-line immigration policies. 

“When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said,” he tweeted.

“If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out,” Trump added in another tweet.

The tirade prompted widespread denunciation from Democrats, who plan to introduce a resolution in the House condemning Trump’s “xenophobic tweets.”

A growing number of Republican lawmakers have also criticized the tweets as offensive and inaccurate.