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Congress-members Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar condemned President Trump's spate of racist attacks against them in a news conference Monday. Their public rebuke followed Trump tweeting Sunday telling them to "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." The comments have been widely condemned as racist and xenophobic. We hear from the progressive congresswomen in their own words.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: President Trump is doubling down after he was widely condemned for his racist attack on four progressive congresswomen of color in a series of tweets that began Sunday and told them to, quote, "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." The tweets were aimed at Congressmembers Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, who are known as "The Squad." All four are U.S. citizens, and three of the four were born in the United States. Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia before coming to the U.S. as a refugee at age 12.
On Monday, Trump added a new insult, saying Omar was an al-Qaeda sympathizer -- a false claim she said she would not dignify with an answer. During a "Made in America" showcase at the White House, the president refused to back down when reporters asked him about the controversy.
REPORTER 1: Mr. President
REPORTER 2: Does it concern you -- does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It doesn't concern me, because many people agree with me. And all I'm saying: If they want to leave, they can leave.
AMY GOODMAN: That was President Trump, standing outside the White House. His Twitter tirade also named House Speaker Pelosi and comes on the heels of her public feud with the four congress-members following last month's passage of the contested border funding bill, which they opposed. Pelosi said that House would vote as early at today on a resolution that, quote, "strongly condemns President Donald Trump's racist comments" and says they've "legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."
This morning, Trump pushed back against the resolution, tweeting the congresswomen, quote, "have been spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate, & yet they get a free pass and a big embrace from the Democrat Party." He added, "Why isn't the House voting to rebuke the filthy and hate laced things they have said? Because they are the Radical Left, and the Democrats are afraid to take them on."
Well, on Monday, the Squad appeared together for a news conference in response to Trump's assaults. Here now are their full comments, starting with Congressmember Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY: I want to send a message of gratitude and thanks to the solidarity that we have received from every corner of our country, from our colleagues to our neighbors. We are grateful for your solidarity, your encouragement and your support in the face of the most recent xenophobic, bigoted remarks from the occupant of our White House. I will always refer to him as "the occupant," as he is only occupying space. He does not embody the grace, the empathy, the compassion, the integrity that that office requires and that the American people deserve.
That being said, I encourage the American people and all of us, in this room and beyond, to not take the bait. This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people that we were sent here with a decisive mandate from our constituents to work on, everything from reducing the cost of prescription drugs to addressing our affordable housing crisis, to ensuring that the American people have more than health insurance, but healthcare.
More recently, thanks to the partnership of Chairman Elijah Cummings and the advocacy of myself and a coalition of advocates I've worked with for decades, we held the first hearing on childhood trauma. And in sitting in that hearing, as we heard about the many manifestations and iterations of childhood trauma, in the wake of the public health crisis and epidemic that is gun violence, in the wake of PTSD, in the wake of those battling substance abuse disorder and a host of other things, it was impossible not to think of the trauma that is being inflicted upon children every day at our border. At the end of the day, if we improve the conditions of children in a cage, they are still in a cage. And we are viscerally, vigorously and fundamentally opposed to the criminalizing, the vilifying, the mass detention and deportation of migrant families who are simply doing what is their legal human right, and that is to seek asylum.