In the aftermath of fierce condemnation for issuing racist tweets at minority congresswomen earlier this month, President Donald Trump lashed out on Twitter Monday, labeling reports that his decision to double down on his remarks involved pre-determined talking points and opposition research as “fake news.”

Trump falsely claimed “there were no talking points” just days after issuing a speech at the White House on July 15, where he used a “Made in America” event intended toshowcase U.S. manufacturing to again tell four Democratic lawmakers—Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota—they “can leave right now” if they were dissatisfied with the U.S.

Photos captured by a Washington Post photographer showed that Trump’s notes did, in fact, have talking points about the progressive lawmakers who’ve been dubbed “The Squad”—all of whom are U.S. citizens and of whichthree were born in the U.S. The president’s notes specifically referenced Omar, a Somali refugee who came to the U.S. in 1995 after fleeing her country years earlier because of a civil war.

“She came here at 10 years old and is now a congresswoman. That could ONLY happen in America,” Trump’s notes read. “It is SAD that these women have a record of saying anti-Semitic and anti-American things all the time.”

Trump’s prepared remarks continued: “It’s actually DANGEROUS — because it seems like they hate America. My point was if you are not happy here, you can leave.”

At a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Wednesday evening, attendees chanted “send her back” after Trump again accused Omar in his prepared remarks of not being a proud American, being sympathetic to al-Qaeda and saying she “looks down with contempt on hardworking Americans.”

Trump’s Monday morning tweet also included denials about information in a Washington Poststory, which said that “advisers wrote new talking points and handed him reams of opposition research on the four congresswomen.” According to the article, allies, aides and confidants reportedly struggled to relay to the president why his remarks that “The Squad” should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” were racist and that he should pivot to new messages.

“The Amazon Washington Post front page story yesterday was total Fake News. They said ‘Advisors wrote new talking points and handed him reams of opposition research on the four Congresswomen.’ Now really, does that sound like me?” Trump wrote in a series of tweets. “What advisors, there were no talking points,……..except for those stated by me, & ‘reams of paper’ were never given to me. It is a made up story meant to demean & belittle. The Post had no sources. The facts remain the same, that we have 4 Radical Left Congresswomen who have said very bad things about Israel & our Country!”

However, Trump did not respond to the images of his talking points that were taken by photographers last week.

In another tweet, Trump continued to berate “The Squad,” calling them “a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart.”

Following Trump’s racist tweets, the Democratic-led House moved swiftly last week to pass a resolution of condemnation. But the formal rebuke to the president only mustered support from four Republican members. Some of the few GOP representatives who publicly condemned Trump failed to vote for the resolution.

The four freshmen congresswomen that make up”The Squad” have hit back repeatedly at Trump on Twitter and in comments to reporters. The women have quickly becomepolitical firebrands, often making headlines with their strong ridicule of Trump and even sometimes acting as a thorn in the side of Democratic leadership.

“This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms or it’s happening on national TV. And now, it’s reached the White House garden,” Omar said last week at a press conference with her colleagues of “The Squad.”

“He would love nothing more than to divide our country based on race, religion, gender orientation, or immigration status,” the freshman lawmaker continued, “because this is the only way he knows he can prevent the solidarity of us working together across all of our differences.”


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