Defiant in the face of widespread censorship, President Donald Trump insisted on Tuesday that his tweets suggesting four democratic congresswomen of color returning to their countries "were NOT racist", and called on Republicans to "show no weakness" and to resist a home resolution that condemns his words.
"I don't have a racist bone in my body!", Trump exclaimed on Twitter, the day after he declared that "many people are in agreement" with his evaluation of the four freshmen politicians.
"Those tweets were NOT racist," wrote President Trump last Tuesday, following the continuous repercussion of his weekend tweets, that progressive women "return" to their "broken and criminally affected" countries.
The tweets, which have been widely denounced as racist, were directed at representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
All are American citizens and three of the four were born in the United States.
Trump said Tuesday again that women, who firmly oppose his policies and comments, actually "hate our country".
The four politicians reacted on Monday, condemning those who called them "bigoted and xenophobic comments" and renewing requests to the Democrats to start impeachment proceedings.
FEED ITS BASE
The episode noted that Mr. Trump is willing to still rely on incendiary rhetoric about race and immigration issues to preserve his political base ahead of the 2020 elections. He shrugged criticism.
"It doesn't concern me because many people are in agreement with me," President Trump said Monday in the White House.
"Many people love it, anyway."
At the Capitol, there was a unanimous condemnation by the Democrats and a rumble of discontent by a subgroup of Republicans, but in particular not by the leaders of the party in Congress.
The president of the Chamber, Nancy Pelosi, who said that the slogan of President Trump's campaign really means that he wants to "make America white again", announced Monday that the Assembly will vote on a resolution condemning its new comments.
The resolution "strongly condemns" Trump's "racist comments" and states that "they have legitimized and increased the fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color".
In response, Trump tweeted on Tuesday about the four women in Congress: "Why does the House not vote to reproach the dirty and hateful things they have said? Because they are the radical left and the Democrats are afraid to take them. Sad!"
Republican senator Mitt Romney of Utah, White House party candidate in 2012 and now one of the president's most vocalist critics, said today that President Trump's comments are "destructive, humiliating and uneven."
Mr. Trump dug in.
"If you're not happy in the United States, if you complain all the time, you can leave, you can leave now," he said.
C ALCOHOLATE SHIFT
Trump, who won the presidency in 2016 in part by energizing dissatisfied voters with an incendiary racial rhetoric, clarified that he does not intend to back away from this strategy in 2020.
His words, which evoked the trope of telling blacks to return to Africa, may have been partly aimed at broadening the divisions within the House's democratic caucus, which has been torn apart by an internal debate on the best way to oppose its policies.
And while the attacks of Mr. Trump brought the Democrats together in defense of their colleagues, his allies noted that he was also having some success in making progressive politicians the face of their party.
The Republican president has questioned that the Democrats should "wrap themselves" around this group of four while reciting a list of the quarrel's most controversial statements.
"Nancy Pelosi tried to push them away, but now they are forever married to the Democratic Party," he wrote Tuesday, adding, "See you in 2020!"
"The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four progressives, but now they are forced to hug them," he tweeted Monday afternoon.
"This means that they are supporting socialism, hatred of Israel and the United States! Not good for the Democrats!"
At a press conference with her three colleagues, Mrs Pressley turned to Trump as "the occupant of our White House" instead of the president.
"They do not embody the grace, empathy, compassion, integrity that that office requires and that the American people deserve," he said, encouraging people "not to take the bait" .
Ms Pressley said that President Trump's remarks were "a disruptive distraction from the problems of care, concern and consequences for the American people" – prescription drug prices, affordable housing, health care ".
Ms Omar, United States Naturalized. citizen born in Somalia, accused him of "openly violating" the Constitution and issued a request for an impeachment proceeding.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez said that Trump "does not know how to defend his policies and therefore what he does is attack us personally".
TRIED AND TRUE
Trump has suffered few consequences for such attacks in the past. Generally he gains cycles of media attention from wall to wall and small mishap from his party.
He is betting that his most resolute supporters will be stimulated by the controversy as much, if not more, than the opposition.
Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama's former national security adviser, tweeted:
"Trump launched his political brand eight years ago saying that the first African American president was born in Africa. It has always been a problem of racism and the fact that it has ever been a controversial thing is part of the problem."
The president told his helpers that he was voicing what many of his supporters believe – that they are tired of people, including immigrants, who do not respect their country, according to three Republicans close to the White House who were not allowed to speak publicly of private conversations.
Mr. Trump identified Omar in particular, accusing her of having "hatred" for Israel and expressing "love" for "enemies like Al Qaeda".
"These are people who, in my opinion, hate our country," he said.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of the president who played golf with him over the weekend, advised him to "aim higher" at a Fox & Friends Fox News Channel appearance, though he accused the four democrats to be "anti-Semitic" and "anti-American".
Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff, said: "I don't think the president's intent is in any way racist," pointing to Mr. Trump's decision to choose Elaine Chao, born in Taiwan, as his secretary of transport .
Ms. Chao is one of the few minorities among assistants, mostly white and men, in high-profile roles in Mr. Trump's administration.
She is the wife of Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who declined to comment on Trump's attacks on Monday.
Among the few GOP politicians who comment on Monday, Texas representative Pete Olson said that Trump's tweets "did not reflect the values of 1,000,000+ people" in his district.
"I urge our President to immediately deny his comments," he wrote.
In a February 2017 Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, half of Americans said that the blending of culture and values from around the world is an important part of the American identity as a nation.
About a third said the same of a culture established by the first European immigrants.
But the partisans in that poll were divided on these aspects of the American identity.
About two thirds of the Democrats, but only about a third of the Republicans thought that the mixing of world cultures was important for the identity of the country.
By comparison, almost half of Republicans, but only a quarter of Democrats saw the culture of the first European immigrants as important to the nation.