GOP lawmaker: Trump's tweets 'obviously not racist'

Maryland Rep. Andy HarrisAndrew (Andy) Peter HarrisConservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess GOP put on the back foot by Trump's race storm The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump creates new firestorm with 'go back' remarks MORE on Monday morning became one of the first Republicans to address President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE's tweets calling on a group of progressive female lawmakers to "go back" to their countries, arguing the comments are "obviously not racist."

"No they're not, they're obviously not racist," Harris told WBAL's Bryan Nehman when asked about Trump's tweets from the day prior. "But again, when anyone disagrees with someone now the default is to call them a racist, and this no exception."

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Asked by Nehman on why it's not racist to tell American citizens to go back to their countries of origin, Harris said, "Well, ask the president what he meant by it, but clearly it's not a racist comment. He could have meant go back to the district they came from, to the neighborhood they came from."

"They all didn't come from foreign countries, so you'd have to presume that it was not a country," Harris added, when pressed on whether he believed Trump meant neighborhoods or districts and not other countries.

The president sparked an uproar on Sunday with his comments targeting unnamed female Democrats "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe." Trump said the women — thought to be Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe Memo: Dangers loom for Trump on immigration Students retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to return to North Carolina to stump for special election candidate Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMichigan city declines to renew contract with ICE to hold detainees Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas NJ college censures trustee over posts targeting 'the squad' MORE (D-Mass.), collectively known as "the squad" — should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

The tweets were widely condemned as racist, as all four of the freshman congresswomen are U.S. citizens, while only Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, was born outside the United States.

The outrage provided Democrats with an opportunity to unify after a week of infighting sparked by barbs traded between Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Is there internet life after thirty? Pelosi says Dems 'have to be ready to throw a punch — for the children' in 2020 MORE (D-Calif.) and Ocasio-Cortez. The feud escalated earlier last week when Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post that Pelosi appeared to be targeting women of color.

Harris referenced those remarks, saying, "Even when Ocasio-Cortez disagrees with Nancy Pelosi she calls her a racist."

Ocasio-Cortez, however, explicitly said she does not think the Speaker is a racist.

Harris, an ardent defender of Trump, has long criticized the media, at one point saying he disregards anything mainstream media outlets report. He continued that line of criticism on Monday, telling Nehman, "You listen to the mainstream media, the mainstream media all thinks that this is a racist comment."