Donald Trump has been accused of racism after telling a group of congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”.
The US president made the remark earlier today aimed at the four women – despite all but one being born in the US.
In his shocking Twitter tirade, he claimed that they “came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”
The comment has been condemned by Democrats as “racist.”
The shocking tweet read: “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.
“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!”
While he did not mention names, Mr Trump appeared to be referring to first-year Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
The group, known as “the squad”, have been very critical of Trump and also of the current Democratic leadership of the House.
Only Ms Omar, whose family left Somalia as refugees and arrived in Minneapolis in 1997, was born outside the United States.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, like Trump a native of New York City, responded on Twitter : “Mr. President, the country I ‘come from,’ and the country we all swear to, is the United States.
“You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder.”
Ms Pressley shared a screenshot of Mr Trump’s tweet, adding: “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like.”
While Ms Tlaib, congresswoman for Michigan’s 13th district, tweeted calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment.
“Want a response to a lawless and complete failure of a president? He is the crisis. His dangerous ideology is the crisis. He needs to be impeached,” she wrote.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has feuded with the group in an increasingly bitter intra-party fight, but came to their defence along with other Democratic colleagues.
She called Mr Trump’s comments “xenophobic.”
She wrote on Twitter: “When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again.
“Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.
“Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values.”
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said on CBS’s Face the Nation: “Do I fit into the President’s category?” mentioning his family’s Lithuanian heritage.
“Thanks goodness,” he said of Ms Omar’s journey from refugee to one of only two Muslim women elected to Congress, along with Tlaib, a native of Detroit.
“That is what America holds as a dream. The president should not diminish it.”