President Trump on Sunday night doubled down amid a growing backlash over his earlier tweets telling a group of progressive congresswomen that they should "go back" to the countries that they came from.
"So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our Country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion. Whenever confronted, they call their adversaries, including Nancy Pelosi, 'RACIST,'" Trump said in a pair of tweets.
"Their disgusting language and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged. If the Democrat Party wants to continue to condone such disgraceful behavior, then we look even more forward to seeing you at the ballot box in 2020!" he continued.
Trump was responding to outrage over comments he made earlier on Sunday in which he targeted a group of unnamed 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-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), the president suggested they "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
Trump's tweets were quickly condemned as racist by his critics. All four of the freshman congresswomen are U.S. citizens, and only Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, was born outside the U.S.
The furor over Trump's tweets offered an increasingly fractious Democratic Party the chance to unify in its criticism of the president. The party has been riven by infighting over the past week, sparked by an interview Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) gave to The New York Times by last Sunday in which she made remarks about the freshman congresswomen that were seen by some as dismissive.
The tensions within the party escalated after Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post that she felt Pelosi was targeting women of color, though the New York Democrat said she doesn't believe the Speaker is racist.
The dispute was amplified on Friday after the House Democratic Caucus's official Twitter account tore into Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, over comments he made about Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), who is Native American.
Nonetheless, Trump's tweets Sunday provided Democrats with an opportunity to show a united front, however temporary.
Democrats across the spectrum, from Ocasio-Cortez's fellow progressives to close Pelosi allies such as Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), condemned the tweets, with Jeffries calling Trump a "racial arsonist."
Trump waded into the intraparty dispute earlier in the week, telling reporters that he felt Ocasio-Cortez was being "disrespectful" to Pelosi.