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Trump says there's 'nothing racist' in attacks against Cummings

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE defended his recent attacks on Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsWe must act on lowering cost of prescription drugs Voters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? MORE (D-Md.), saying there is "nothing racist" in his tweets. 

"There is nothing racist in stating plainly what most people already know, that Elijah Cummings has done a terrible job for the people of his district, and of Baltimore itself. Dems always play the race card when they are unable to win with facts. Shame!" Trump tweeted Sunday.

Trump tweeted Saturday about Cummings and the city of Baltimore, which falls in the congressman's district, calling the city "disgusting" and "rodent infested," comments that were widely denounced as racist by Democrats.

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He continued to double down on his criticism Sunday. 

About 40 minutes after defending his initial attack, Trump followed up with a tweet calling Cummings "racist." Trump did not include an explanation of why he was describing the African American congressman as racist.

"If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership. His radical 'oversight' is a joke!" Trump tweeted.

Trump similarly tried to fend off accusations that his tweets targeting a group of four congresswomen were racist.

In a tweet directed at freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHarry Styles hits back at criticism over wearing dress on Vogue cover 'It's not a slogan': Progressives push back on Obama's comments on 'defund the police' movement Obama says Democrats should make sure Ocasio-Cortez has a platform MORE (N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP congresswoman-elect wants to form Republican 'Squad' called 'The Force' MORE (Mich.), Ilhan OmarIlhan Omar'It's not a slogan': Progressives push back on Obama's comments on 'defund the police' movement Meet the three Democrats who could lead foreign affairs in the House Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far MORE (Minn.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna Pressley'It's not a slogan': Progressives push back on Obama's comments on 'defund the police' movement Overnight Health Care: CDC panel recommends who gets vaccine first | McConnell offering new relief bill | Hahn downplays White House meeting on vaccines Louisville mayor declares racism a public health crisis MORE (Mass.), all of whom are women of color, Trump said the lawmakers should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Only Omar was born outside the U.S, and all four are U.S. citizens. 

Trump vehemently pushed back on accusations that the tweets directed at the lawmakers were racist.

Later, Trump’s mention of Omar at a rally led the crowd to break into a “send her back” chant. Trump said he tried to quell the chants, but he waited 13 seconds to speak and continued his speech only after the chant had died down on its own.

The House voted to condemn Trump’s “go back” tweets in a vote largely along party lines. Few Republicans have publicly denounced Trump’s attacks on U.S. lawmakers of color as racist.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that a resolution condemning Trump’s racist tweet about Cummings “wouldn’t be a bad idea,” but he was unsure if one would be introduced.