Collins: Trump should delete tweets on Democratic congresswomen

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms Romney calls lunch with Trump 'delightful' Trump lunches with two of his biggest Senate GOP critics MORE (R-Maine) on Monday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpWatergate prosecutor says that Sondland testimony was 'tipping point' for Trump In private moment with Trump, Justice Kennedy pushed for Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination: book Obama: 'Everybody needs to chill out' about differences between 2020 candidates MORE should delete his tweets telling four Democratic congresswomen of color to "go back" to their home countries, calling his rhetoric "way over the line."  

"I disagree strongly with many of the views and comments of some of the far-left members of the House Democratic Caucus … but the President’s tweet that some Members of Congress should go back to the ‘places from which they came’ was way over the line, and he should take that down," Collins said in a statement. 

Collins, who is up for reelection in a state won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocratic strategist laments 'low bar' for Biden debate performance Wasserman Schultz makes bid for House Appropriations Committee gavel Trump to hold campaign rally in Pennsylvania next month MORE in 2016, is the first Republican lawmaker to explicitly call for Trump to delete his tweets from Sunday. 

Though Republicans have largely remained silent about Trump's tweets, there is growing pushback from some members of the party.

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Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamFBI official under investigation for allegedly altering document in Russia probe: report Trump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms Graham requests State Department documents on Bidens, Ukraine MORE (R-S.C.), a close ally of Trump's, urged the president to avoid personal attacks, calling on him to focus on criticizing Democratic policies instead. Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) called Trump's tweets "wrong," adding that the citizenship of the four congresswomen is "as valid as mine." 

Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdHill, Holmes offer damaging impeachment testimony: Five takeaways GOP lawmaker says Trump's statements on Ukraine call 'misguided foreign policy' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Witness dismisses 'fictional' GOP claims of Ukraine meddling MORE (R-Texas) has gone further than any other GOP lawmaker so far, describing the Trump tweet as "racist and xenophobic."

Trump sparked fierce and widespread backlash — largely from Democrats — on Sunday when he targeted a group of unidentified progressive congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe." 

In the tweets, which appeared to be directed at Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezPoll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Steyer, Biden clash over climate credentials MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarPoll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Booker responds to Onion article mocking Buttigieg over stock photo MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibPoll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyWarren speech in Georgia interrupted by pro-charter school protesters Poll: Biden and Sanders tied nationally, followed by Warren Ayanna Pressley introduces extensive criminal justice reform resolution MORE (D-Mass.), the president suggested they "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."  

All four have been outspoken critics of the Trump administration, and Omar and Tlaib in particular have questioned the U.S.-Israel relationship, prompting pushback from Republicans. All four are U.S. citizens and only Omar was born outside the United States.

Trump doubled down on his statement late Sunday, saying it was "sad" to see Democrats sticking up for the four women, who he argued used "disgusting language" and said "many terrible things" about the U.S. that "must not be allowed to go unchallenged."