Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that she stands with the four Democratic congresswomen of color whom 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 suggested should "go back" to where they came from even though three were born in the U.S. and all are U.S. citizens.

Merkel said at a Berlin press conference that the comment, which Democrats and handful of Republicans condemned as racist, "undermines America's strength" according to CNN

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"I distance myself from this decidedly and stand in solidarity with the women who were attacked," she said, referring to Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez blasts Electoral College as a 'scam' Trump slams Tlaib after press conference on Israel ban: I don't buy her tears Scaramucci calls on GOP to save country from Trump 'depredations' MORE (N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMaher hits back at Tlaib: Does she 'want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMaher hits back at Tlaib: Does she 'want to boycott 93 percent of her own party?' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna Pressley'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' Trump ramps up attacks on Tlaib Trump slams Tlaib after press conference on Israel ban: I don't buy her tears MORE (Mass.)

"U.S.'s strength lies exactly in the fact that people of very different nationalities contribute to the strength of the American people," the chancellor added. 

"Those [Trump's statements] are sentiments which are very much in opposition to my impressions [about the U.S.], which I strongly believe in, and it is something that undermines America's strength," Merkel said. 

Trump on Sunday tweeted that the four women, known collectively as "the squad," should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

The House voted largely along partisan lines this week to condemn the remark as racist, with four Republicans and an Independent joining all Democrats in their rebuke of the president. 

At a Trump campaign rally Wednesday, the president's supporters chanted "send her back" in reference to Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia. The chant was widely condemned, and Trump later tried to distance himself from it, saying, "I was not happy with it. I disagree with it."

On Friday, however, he blasted the press's "crazed" coverage of the rally, saying not enough attention is paid to past "vile and disgusting statements" from the lawmakers.