Trump: If Democrats Don’t Like It Here, They Can Leave

'These are people that hate our country'

President Donald Trump repeatedly encouraged Democratic congresswomen he criticized over the weekend to leave the country Monday and accused them of hating the United States.

Trump set off an uproar with a series of tweets on Sunday that appeared to go directly after four freshman, strongly liberal congresswomen: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.), Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.). Although all but Omar were born in the U.S., he tweeted they "originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe," and he said they should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done."

Trump defended himself against accusations the tweets were racist, telling reporters at the White House the Democrats could "leave right now." He called Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D., Calif.) charge that he was trying to "Make America White Again" a "very racist statement." Pelosi and the four congresswomen had been at loggerheads before Trump's latest comments.

"Well, they're very unhappy, I'm watching them, all they do is complain," Trump said. "So all I'm saying is if they want to leave they can leave."

Trump said the congresswomen "hate our country" and repeatedly invited them to leave.

"They have to love our country. They're congresspeople, and I never used any names," Trump said. "Quiet. Quiet … These are people that if they don't like it here, they can leave, and I don't know who's going to miss them, but I guess some people will."

Trump invoked Omar's reference to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as "some people did something" and accused her of saying al Qaeda was "wonderful," a reference to a 2013 interview where Omar didn't use the word but joked about how her professor used to name terrorist groups like al Qaeda and Hezbollah with an "intensity."

Omar "hates Israel" and "hates Jews," Trump added.

"If the Democrats want to wrap their bows around this group of four people," Trump said, before hitting Ocasio-Cortez for her work in preventing Amazon from building a headquarters in New York City. "They're free to leave if they want and if they want to leave that's fine and if they want to stay that's fine, but the people have to know, and politicians can't be afraid to take them on."

Trump said he disagreed with criticism that the tweets were racist and wasn't concerned with one reporter's question that white nationalist groups found "common cause" with his point.

"These are people that hate our country," Trump said. "They hate it, I think, with a passion. Now it's possible I'm wrong. The voter will decide. But what I hear the way they talk about our country, when I hear the anti-Semitic language they use, when I hear the hatred they have for Israel and the love they have for enemies like al Qaeda, then I will tell you that I do not believe this is good for the Democrat Party. Certainly it's not the party that I've known over the years."

Trump sent off the tweets on Sunday, following a week where Pelosi had clashed with the group over a border funding bill that they opposed.

"So interesting to see "Progressive" Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run," Trump tweeted. "Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!"