U.S. President Donald Trump intensified his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen during a speech Monday, saying that “if you’re not happy here, you can leave.”
He also singled out Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, claiming she “hates Jews.”
“In one case, you have somebody that comes from Somalia, which is a failed government, a failed state, who left Somalia, who ultimately came here,” Trump said. “And now is a congresswoman who’s never happy, says horrible things about Israel, hates Israel, hates Jews, hates Jews. It’s very simple.”
Omar was born in Somalia and came to America in 1997. She is a U.S. citizen.
At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Omar said she would not dignify the attack with a response.
WATCH: Ilhan Omar reacts to Trump’s attacks: ‘Every single Muslim has heard that’
“I know that every single Muslim that has lived in this country and across the world has heard that comment and so I will not dignify it with an answer,” she said. “Because I know that every single islamaphobe, every single person who is hateful, who is driven by an ideology of othering as this president is, rejoices in us responding to that and us defending ourselves.”
Trump also defended his weekend tweets, where he said the four first-term minority congresswomen, known informally in the U.S. Congress as “the squad,” should “go back” to the “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
A reporter asked the president whether or not Trump was concerned that many people found the tweets racist.
“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me, and all I’m saying – if they want to leave, they can leave,” Trump said in response.
The Twitter rant prompted other Democrats to accuse Trump of racist rhetoric, which they claim is meant to further divide Americans.
“That’s what I said in a tweet, which I guess some people think is controversial,” Trump said Monday, adding that he had not mentioned any names. “A lot of people love it, by the way, a lot of people love it.
“But if you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave,” Trump said. “You can leave right now – come back if you want. Don’t come back. It’s OK too. But if you’re not happy, you can leave.”
His remarks came at an event at the White House that was meant to spotlight U.S. manufacturing, with Trump viewing boats, motorcycles and other American-manufactured products. His comments about the lawmakers overshadowed the event.
When is criticism of Israel anti-Semitic?
Trump and Omar have clashed before on their views of Israel. In February of this year, Omar issued an apology for suggesting that members of Congress were paid by a powerful interest group to support Israel, comments that both sides of the aisle denounced as anti-Semitic.
Earlier this year, Omar said she received death threats after Trump spread around a video purporting to show her being dismissive of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
— With files from Hannah Jackson, Reuters and The Associated Press
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