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

White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayWhite House pushes back on Parnas allegations Trump suggests LBJ is in hell: 'He's probably looking down — or looking up' George Conway group releases ad targeting GOP senator: 'You're just another Trump servant' MORE on Monday piled on in attacking progressive congresswomen who have been the subject of attacks from President TrumpDonald John TrumpNational Archives says it altered Trump signs, other messages in Women's March photo Dems plan marathon prep for Senate trial, wary of Trump trying to 'game' the process Democratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' 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-CortezAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia Here are the 10 senators who voted against Trump's North American trade deal Artist paints Michelle Obama, other women as battered in campaign against domestic violence MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia With surge in anti-Semitism, political leaders need to be aggressive and reflective in response Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Sanders MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibHillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Michigan governor urges Zuckerberg to enforce community guidelines after hate speech, threats surface Ayanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia Ayanna Pressley opens up about having alopecia for first time, reveals bald head in interview Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair endorses Sanders 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.