The four progressive congresswomen of color attacked by President Donald Trump responded on Monday afternoon at a joint news conference, saying his “blatantly racist” assault on them is nothing more than an effort to distract from his corrupt administration and inhumane policies.
The Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, portrayed Trump as lawless and condemned his treatment of migrants on the border and deportations.
"This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms or happening in national TV. And now it's reached the White House garden," Omar said of what she called Trump's "blatantly racist attack."
Ocasio-Cortez said, "I am not surprised" by the president's actions, given the actions she said he's taken against immigrants and to hurt the average American. She called Trump's comments about the four lawmakers a "distraction."
"This president operates in complete bad faith," Ocasio-Cortez said. "He does not know how to defend his policies, so instead he attacks us personally. That’s what this is all about”
She added that she and her colleagues aren't going anywhere.
"We don't leave the things we love," Ocasio-Cortez said, and "we love all people in this country."
Omar called it a "pivotal moment in our country," with Trump "openly violating the oath he took" with "human rights abuses" involving the conditions in which migrants are being detained at the border. She called for his impeachment and accused him of "colluding with a foreign government" in the 2016 presidential election, a charge he's repeatedly denied.
The congresswoman said she would not respond to Trump's "ridiculous" claims earlier Monday that she supports al Qaeda.
"It's beyond time to ask Muslims to condemn terrorists," she said.
Omar also ripped Trump as a hypocrite for saying that she should leave the country if she's not happy with the government, noting his campaign was all about what terrible shape the United States was in.
"He talked about everything that was wrong in this country and how he was going to make it right," Omar said.
Pressley urged Americans to not "take the bait" from the "occupant" in the White House.
"This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern and consequence to the American people" they were sent to Washington to work on, she said.
Tlaib again called for her colleagues to begin impeachment proceedings.
"Sadly, this is not the first, nor will it be the last time that we hear disgusting, bigoted language from the president. We know this is who he is," she said.
Trump started tweeting about the four again shortly after their press conference was scheduled to start.
"IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE!" he wrote in the first of three tweets, which were posted before the four took to the podium.
Earlier Monday, Trump escalated his attacks on the congresswomen, accusing them of loving terrorists, "hating" the United States and Israel and saying they should feel free to leave the country if they're not happy here.
Trump first went after the quartet over the weekend, tweeting that they should "go back" to the countries they "originally came from" — even though three of them are from the United States — and has repeatedly doubled down since.
His incessant lashing-out prompted lawmakers of both parties to condemn his remarks.