Graham Tells Trump To 'Aim Higher' After Weekend Tweets

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s tweets about four lawmakers of color (all times local):

9:07 a.m.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham is advising President Donald Trump to “aim higher” following Trump’s incendiary weekend tweets about four Democratic congresswomen. Trump had tweeted that they should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from, even though all of the women are American citizens and three were born in the U.S.

Graham, a close ally of Trump who golfed with the president over the weekend, offered the advice in an interview with “Fox & Friends” Monday morning.

He said the lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, “are American citizens” who were “duly elected,” and says Trump should “take on their policies” instead of launching personal attacks.

Still, Graham called the members “anti-Semitic” and “anti-American,” saying that “AOC and this crowd are a bunch of communists. They hate Israel. They hate our own country.”

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8:20 a.m.

A relative of U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib living in the West Bank says President Donald Trump is an anti-Palestinian racist.

Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was one of four congresswomen of color who were targeted in Trump’s latest Twitter barrage. Trump said the women should go back to the “broken and crime infested” places they came from, ignoring the fact that all are American citizens and three, including Tlaib, were born in the U.S.

Bassam Tlaib, an uncle of the congresswoman, called the president’s comments “a racist statement meant to target Rashida because she is from Palestinian roots.”

He said it “proves that Trump is anti-Palestinian, anti-Islam and completely biased with Israel.”

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8 a.m.

President Donald Trump is not apologizing for his weekend tweets that four congresswomen of color should go back to the “broken and crime infested” countries they came from. Instead, Trump tweeted Monday that they ought to apologize to him for past remarks about Israel and about him.

Trump’s new tweets came as the White House tried to defend his weekend remarks, widely condemned by Democrats as racist. Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said Monday that those tweets were aimed at “very specific” comments made by Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who was born in Somalia, and not as a “universal statement.”

He says: “I don’t think that the president’s intent any way is racist.”

All four of the congresswomen are U.S. citizens.

But even as Short spoke, Trump’s new tweets Monday referenced “congresswomen,” not just Omar. He tweeted “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. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”

Omar ignited a bipartisan uproar in Washington several months ago when she suggested that members of Congress support Israel for money. Another congresswoman, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, riled up a supportive crowd by calling the president a profanity and predicting that Trump will be removed from office.

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12:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump is shrugging off sharp criticism for tweets branded as racist in which he says four outspoken liberal congresswomen of color should go back to their “broken and crime infested” countries.

All are U.S. citizens and only one is foreign-born.

While Democrats have condemned Trump’s remarks, Republicans have remained largely silent.

In a tweet Sunday night, Trump says it is “so sad” to see Democrats sticking up for the women.

While Trump didn’t name the four, he is almost certainly referring to congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Only Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in reply, “You are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”

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