Trump's tweets unify a fractured Democratic Party

A series of tweets from President TrumpDonald John TrumpCDC updates website to remove dosage guidance on drug touted by Trump Trump says he'd like economy to reopen 'with a big bang' but acknowledges it may be limited Graham backs Trump, vows no money for WHO in next funding bill MORE on Sunday telling a contingent of progressive congresswomen to “go back” to the “places from which they came” allowed the Democratic Party the chance to present a unified front following a week of internal clashes.

In the tweets, Trump took aim at unnamed "'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe," and called on them to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

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The statements came amid escalating tensions between House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Mattis defends Pentagon IG removed by Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash MORE (D-Calif.) and the four Democratic freshman members of Congress targeted by the president, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWhat the coronavirus reveals about the race grievance industry Democrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Overnight Health Care: Global coronavirus cases top 1M | Cities across country in danger of becoming new hotspots | Trump to recommend certain Americans wear masks | Record 6.6M file jobless claims MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Undocumented aliens should stay away as COVID-19 rages in the US The Southern Poverty Law Center and yesterday's wars MORE (D-Minn.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyMaryland Legislative Black Caucus pushes for state to release racial breakdown of coronavirus impact Pressley experiencing flu-like symptoms, being tested for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Senate overcomes hurdles, passes massive coronavirus bill MORE (D-Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDemocrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus 20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order Pressley, Tlaib introduce bill providing .5B in emergency grants for the homeless MORE (D-Mich.). All four are American citizens, and all but Omar were born in the United States.

The freshman progressives have been at the center of recent rifts in the party over how to address the crisis at the southern border and racial politics.

But on Sunday, the rebuke was swift from both allies of the insurgent “Squad” and more moderate figures in Democratic House leadership. 

Pelosi condemned the statements, tweeting “When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again. Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.”

Pelosi ally Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package Pelosi says House will draft its own coronavirus funding bill MORE (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), did not reproduce the tweet but called Trump a “racial arsonist.”

“Racist attack on four strongly progressive congresswomen of color will not weaken them. IT ONLY MAKES US STRONGER,” Jeffries tweeted

Assistant House Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the highest-ranking Latino in the House, was first informed of the tweet by Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallacePublic health officials warn of grim days ahead: 'This next week is going to look bad' Whitmer: Lack of national coronavirus strategy 'creating a more porous situation' Bill Gates: Coronavirus numbers will likely plateau by month's end if we quarantine 'well enough' MORE on “Fox News Sunday” and immediately condemned it as “a racist tweet.”

"These are American citizens elected by voters in the United States of America," he added.

He followed up on Twitter shortly after, calling Trump's comment “a racist tweet from a racist president.” 

The co-chairman of the center-right Problem Solvers Caucus, which faced stinging criticism from many progressives for leading the revolt among House Democrats to force a vote on a Senate border aid bill, also defended the four congresswomen Sunday morning.

“The offensive comments made this morning about my colleagues are totally unacceptable and wrong,” Rep. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Infrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Pelosi floats undoing SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus bill MORE (D-N.J.) wrote, linking to a Washington Post story about the tweets. “There is no place for it (in Congress or anywhere in our country).”

Fellow progressives also took aim at the tweets.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDrugmaker caps insulin costs at to help diabetes patients during pandemic The Hill's Campaign Report: Wisconsin votes despite coronavirus pandemic Sen. Brown endorses Biden for president MORE (I-Vt.), a key ally of the four congresswomen, tweeted, “When I call the president a racist, this is what I'm talking about.”

Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalWashington state lawmakers press Boeing to accept aid Some Sanders top allies have urged him to withdraw from 2020 race: report Pelosi says House will review Senate coronavirus stimulus package MORE (D-Wash.), who is considered an elder stateswoman of the party’s left flank, noted her own status as a naturalized immigrant and told Trump, “You can only HOPE to be as patriotic as we are.”

“Your cruelty is sickening. Your egotism is laughable. And you are going to successfully turn millions of Americans into supporters of your opponent in 2020 with these disgusting attacks,” she tweeted. “You are a disgrace to our country and our values.”

Another longtime House progressive, Rep. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeCBS All Access launches animated 'Tooning Out the News' series Bill banning menthol in cigarettes divides Democrats, with some seeing racial bias Democrats spar with DeVos at hearing, say Trump budget would 'privatize education' MORE (D-Calif.), took aim as well, tweeting “OMG, here we go again. My sisters in Congress are Americans. The voices of women of color have been ignored for far too long — but not anymore. This disgusting and racist attack won’t stop us.”

The rush to defend the progressive congresswomen come during a tumultuous time for the party. Pelosi’s clash with the representatives intensified recently when, after they were the only Democrats to vote against a House border funding bill, she told The New York Times’s Maureen Dowd, “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

Ocasio-Cortez fired back, accusing Pelosi of singling out four women of color, a statement that was condemned harshly by members of the CBC, some of whom have accused the progressive group Justice Democrats, which is closely aligned with Ocasio-Cortez, of seeking to oust some of the group's members through primary challenges.

Friction escalated between the two factions within the party after the official House Democratic Caucus Twitter account blasted Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, for a tweet that has since been deleted that said votes by Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsConservative women's group unveils new congressional endorsements Here are the lawmakers who have self-quarantined as a precaution Hillicon Valley: US hits Huawei with new charges | Judge orders Pentagon to halt 'war cloud' work amid Amazon challenge | IRS removes guidance on Fortnite game currency MORE (D-Kan.) had “enabled a racist system.”

All four freshman representatives also responded on Twitter, with Ocasio-Cortez saying, "Mr. President, the country I 'come from,' & the country we all swear to, is the United States. But given how you’ve destroyed our border with inhumane camps, all at a benefit to you & the corps who profit off them, you are absolutely right about the corruption laid at your feet." 

Pressley wrote, "THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere. Except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalize and vilify everyday." 

"I am fighting corruption in OUR country," Tlaib tweeted. "I do it every day when I hold your admin accountable as a U.S. Congresswoman."

Omar, meanwhile, tweeted, "As Members of Congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States. Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen."