Top North Carolina newspapers editorial board to GOP: 'Are you OK with a racist president?'

The editorial board for North Carolina's top newspapers on Monday called for every Republican member of Congress to condemn President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE's "racist" attacks against minority lawmakers, saying the behavior is "so troubling that our leaders need to stand up and say something."

"The same president who referred to African and Haitian nations as 'shithole countries' and said African visitors would never 'go back to their huts' once again doubled down on his racism," the editorial board for The Charlotte Observer and The Raleigh News & Observer wrote in an op-ed titled, "Are you OK with a racist president, Republicans?"

"It’s dangerous, destructive behavior, and at the least every Republican lawmaker in Congress should declare as much about their president’s outburst."

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The board, which endorsed Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Polls flash warning signs for Trump Polls suggest Sanders may be underestimated 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall MORE for president in 2016, went on to single out North Carolina's two GOP senators, saying that Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrHoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Trump withdraws Ratcliffe as Intelligence pick MORE and Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Gun reform groups to pressure GOP senators with rallies in all 50 states To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE need to denounce Trump's latest remarks. 

"We know this isn’t easy politically, especially for Tillis, who is running for reelection and faces a Republican primary challenger in a race to see who can embrace the president more fully," the board wrote, before noting that several GOP lawmakers have struggled to adequately respond to Trump's "tendencies" over the last two years. 

The board added that this reluctance has contributed to a reality in which "the Republican Party is firmly Donald Trump’s party."

"It’s the party where insults and other ugliness are just being 'rough around the edges,'" the board concluded. "It’s the party where locking legal migrants in crowded, unhealthy cages is acceptable immigration policy. It’s the party where it’s OK to say racist things so long as the next jobs report is encouraging.

"If you don’t believe it, listen to the meekness today from Republicans, including those who represent our state."

The searing op-ed was published just a day after Trump targeted a group of minority congresswomen in a Twitter attack, saying that they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came" before speaking out about how the United States government should be run. 

Trump also claimed that the progressive Democrats "came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe."

He did not identify the lawmakers in his tweet. But the comments came amid a week of escalating tension between Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and four freshman House Democrats — Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). 

Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley were born in the United States. Omar was born in Somalia before coming to the U.S. as a refugee with her family. All four are U.S. citizens. 

Several Democratic and Republican lawmakers have condemned the remarks as racist and xenophobic.