Trump lashes out at as progressive Democrats blast him in press conference

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE on Monday lashed out at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Trump celebrates resignation of Bolivia's president Sanders touts big crowds in Iowa rallies with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Overnight Defense: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibSanders: Fighting anti-Semitism 'is very personal' Bloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't Justice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (D-Mass.) as the progressive Democrats held a press conference to denounce his recent incendiary comments.

The president tweeted before, during and immediately after the press conference, which was carried on cable news networks.

ADVERTISEMENT

He repeated his assertion that those who criticize the U.S. should leave and suggested his attacks would ultimately harm the Democratic Party even as caucus members united to condemn the president's comments as racist.

"The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four 'progressives,' but now they are forced to embrace them," Trump tweeted. "That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!"

Trump later appeared to respond to the charges from the four lawmakers about shoddy conditions at border detention facilities by asserting that the "cages" they referred to were built during the Obama administration. 

The president sparked an uproar on Sunday morning when he tweeted that unnamed progressive congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe" should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Trump spent Monday doubling down on his attacks, insisting that those who are inclined to criticize the U.S. should leave.

"They can leave. And you know what? I’m sure that there will be many people that won’t miss them," he said. "They have to love our country. They’re congresspeople."

He targeted Omar in particular, suggesting she "hates Jews" because of her past comments about Israel and claimed without evidence that she's sympathetic to al Qaeda.

The four congresswomen, who refer to themselves as "the squad," denounced Trump's comments as a "distraction" during their press conference later Monday.

"We’ll stay focused on our agenda … because all of this is a distraction. It's a distraction from what’s important and from our core values as Americans," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Omar called it "complete hypocrisy" for Trump to condemn the lawmakers for criticizing the government, noting he campaigned in 2016 on airing grievances with past administrations.

She referred to his comments on a years-old "Access Hollywood" tape in which he bragged about groping women, when he referred to African nations as "shithole countries," and when he derided athletes who kneel during the national anthem as "sons of bitches."

Tlaib called Trump's remarks "a continuation of his racist and xenophobic playbook."