WHITE HOUSE - U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his attacks Monday on four Democratic members of Congress, all women of color, contending they had demeaned the U.S., Israel and the presidency.
"When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said," Trump said on Twitter. "So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!"
He added, "If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S."
Trump's latest comments came a day after he drew sharp criticism for a series of tweets in which he suggested the lawmakers "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
But Trump has said nothing of the fact that of the four apparently targeted in his original complaint Sunday morning, only one - Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a native of Somalia but naturalized as a U.S. citizen - is foreign born. The other three were born in the U.S.: Ayana Pressley (who is a representative from Massachusetts) in Cincinnati, Ohio, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a native New Yorker (and represents the eastern part of the Bronx and a portion of north-central Queens), and Rashid Tlaib, of Michigan, was born in Detroit.
The White House has not responded to a request from VOA on whether the president was aware prior to sending the tweets that three of the four are citizens by birth.
A staunch Republican defender of Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who golfed with him over the weekend, said the president should "aim higher" with his criticism of the four, even as Graham disparaged their views.
"We all know AOC (the acronym for Ocasio-Cortez) and this crowd are a bunch of communists," Graham told Fox News on Monday. "They hate Israel, they hate our own country, they're calling the guards along our border, the border control agents, concentration camp guards, they accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins [money], they're anti-Semitic, they're anti-America, don't get that, aim higher. We don't need to know anything about them personally. Talk about their policy," he said.
The four progressives have been squabbling with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over immigration policy and other issues. The dispute has attracted Trump's attention in recent days, even prompting him to utter rare public support for Pelosi - at least when it comes to her attempt to rein in the newly elected foursome.
Trump's first tweets about the minority novice female members of Congress, known as "the squad," came about 20 minutes after a segment about them on the Fox News Channel. The president frequently reacts quickly on social media to what he sees on Fox, his favorite news channel.
Omar, in particular, has been a frequent topic of critical coverage on the cable television channel, in part due to her frequent criticism of Israel and comments perceived as anti-Semitic.
Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress.
In a Twitter response to Trump on Sunday, Omar reminded him that the United States is the only country to which members of Congress swear an oath.
"Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen," added the Minnesotan.
Many others on social media condemned Trump's tweet - which even by his provocative norms was viewed as crossing a new line.
Among the most prominent was Pelosi, who called Trump's remark xenophobic, "meant to divide our nation" and "reaffirm his plan to 'Make America Great Again' has always been about making America white again."
"You are angry because you can't conceive of an America that includes us," Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez responded to Trump on Twitter. "You rely on a frightened America for your plunder."
"He's demonstrating he's a racist," Congressman Ted Lieu of California, a Democrat who was born in Taiwan and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, said on MSNBC.
British Prime Minister Theresa May also offered her view of the situation, saying Monday that's Trump's comments were "completely unacceptable."
The president brushed off criticism and added new tweets Sunday night saying, "So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak badly of our Country."