WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday defended his attacks against four Democratic congresswomen, saying he was not concerned if people thought his tweets toward them were racist and accused the U.S. lawmakers of hating America.
“As far as I’m concerned if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave,” Trump said at an event at the White House.
The event was meant to highlight U.S. manufacturing, with Trump viewing boats, motorcycles and other products that were made in the United States, but his comments about the lawmakers overshadowed the event.
“If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply: you can leave,” he said, drawing applause from some of the crowd. “You can leave right now. I don’t know who’s going to miss ‘em.”
Asked if he was concerned that some people viewed his tweets as racist or that white supremacists had found common cause with him, Trump said it did not.
“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump said.
Over the weekend Trump said in a tweet that the four first-term minority congresswomen, known informally in Congress as “the squad,” should “go back” to the “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott