Virginia church hangs 'America: Love it or Leave It' sign after Trump attacks on minority congresswomen

A Virginia church put up a new sign this week after President TrumpDonald John TrumpMilitary personnel to handle coronavirus patients at facilities in NYC, New Orleans and Dallas Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort has total of 20 patients: report Fauci says that all states should have stay-at-home orders MORE’s attacks against a group of minority, progressive congresswomen and remarks that the so-called “squad” is “free to leave” if they want to.

“America: Love it or Leave It,” reads the sign outside Friendship Baptist Church in Appomattox, Va.

“I thought I was going to make some remarks regarding the situation in Washington,” Pastor E.W. Lucas told ABC13. “It just came to me … America, I love it. If you don’t love it, leave it.” 

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The sign comes after President Trump tweeted Sunday that Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOvernight 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 Trump blasts Schumer over 'incorrect sound bites' on coronavirus Trump warns against 'partisan investigations' after Pelosi establishes select committee on virus response MORE (N.Y.), 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 (Mass.), 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 (Mich.) and 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 (Minn.) should “go back” to their home countries, prompting widespread backlash.

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Trump later stepped up his attacks, saying the group of women “hate our country.” On Tuesday, he urged them to “go wherever they want, or they can stay. But they should love our country. They shouldn’t hate our country."

Democrats have ripped Trump for his remarks, and a Democrat-led resolution condemning his tweets was approved by the chamber on Tuesday.

GOP leadership and Trump’s staunch defenders have denied claims that Trump and his statements are racist, with some shying away from commenting on the matter. 

"People that feel hard about our president and want to down the president, and down the country and everything, they ought to go over there and live in these other countries for a little while," Lucas told ABC13.

Photos of the sign prompted some controversy on social media, with some praising the church and others denouncing its decision. 

Despite any backlash, Lucas said the sign will stay up “since we've had favorable comments on it.”

”Preachers, by and large, today, are afraid they're gonna hurt somebody's feelings, and when I get in the pulpit, I'm afraid I won't hurt somebody's feelings,” he told the outlet.