Conway: Progressive congresswomen represent 'dark underbelly in this country'

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGrocery store behind viral reusable bag at impeachment hearing offers 'free briefcase' promotion Watchdog report finds FBI not motivated by political bias in Trump probe GOP counsel raises eyebrows with shopping bag at impeachment hearing MORE on Monday piled on in attacking progressive congresswomen who have been the subject of attacks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE in recent days, asserting that they represent a "dark underbelly" of the country.

Conway said on Fox News that she disagreed that Trump was helping to unify Democrats just as they had been in the middle of an intraparty feud with his slams against Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasts Tucker Carlson as 'white supremacist sympathizer' Julián Castro jabs ICE: 'Delete your account' MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarBiden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHouse passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — GOP, Democrats square off at final impeachment hearing MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleySanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire Booker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE (Mass.).

"What the president is doing is, we are tired — sick and tired — of many people in this country," she said. "Forget these four. They represent a dark underbelly of people in this country of people who are not respecting our troops, are not giving them the resources and the respect that they deserve."

She slammed the first-term lawmakers for being the only four Democrats to vote against a border funding package that included humanitarian aid to address the influx of migrants.

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In a gaggle with reporters on the White House driveway, Conway accused the press of failing to adequately question the four Democrats after they delivered a press conference denouncing Trump a day earlier.

She told reporters that the congresswomen represent a "dark element," but did not respond to a question about whether that phrase carried racial undertones.

The president sparked an uproar on Sunday morning when he tweeted that 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.

Conway disputed that the comments and tweets were racist, suggesting that they were about criticizing the lawmakers' policy positions. She argued that attacks on "socialism" and "communism" have "nothing to do with gender," and said she's "had it with people denigrating the American flag."

"When you throw the word racism around long enough, people get desensitized and that's a shame," she said.

Trump did not mention socialism or communism in his original tweets. Instead, he wrote the progressive congresswomen should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." All four women are American citizens, and three of the four were born in the U.S.

Jordan Fabian contributed.