Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said Monday that President Donald Trump’s challenge to far-left Congresswomen to leave the United States was “destructive” and argued the president has “failed badly” at uniting the country.
“The president’s comments were destructive, demeaning, and disunifying. The President of the United States has a unique and noble calling to unite the American people – of all different races, colors, and national origins. In that respect, the president failed badly,” Romney wrote on Twitter Monday evening.
“People can disagree over politics and policy, but telling American citizens to go back to where they came from is over the line,” he added.
Romney’s remarks came after President Trump reiterated his criticism of the “squad” — made up of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — at the White House earlier Monday.
“If you’re not happy here, then you can leave,” the president said. “As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave.”
“But if you’re happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply you can leave, you can leave right now. Come back if you want, don’t come back, that’s okay too. But if you’re not happy, you can leave,” he added.
It was the third time President Trump took shots at the four lawmakers.
In a series of tweets on Sunday, the president alluded to the group of ” ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen,” who he did not mention specifically by name, urging them to return to the countries where they originally came from whose governments he described as a “complete and total catastrophe” instead of “loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States” how the government should be run.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done,” he wrote. “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”
The lawmakers responded to President Trump with a press conference on Capitol Hill Monday evening. In her prepared remarks, Omar called the president’s comments “blatantly racist” and said they would something white nationalists would utter.
“To distract from that, he’s launching a blatantly racist attack on four elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color,” the Minnesota Democrat said. “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.”
When it was Ocasio-Cortez’s turn to speak, the New York Democrat claimed President Trump took aim at their frequent attacks on America in order to avoid discussing policies.
“Weak minds and weak leaders challenge loyalty to our country to avoid challenging and debating policy. This president does not know how to defend his policies, so what he does is attack us personally,” she said.
Ahead of the press conference, President Trump fired off a trio of tweets, saying the U.S. will “never be a Socialist or Communist Country” and inviting lawmakers who despise the country to leave.
The UPI contributed to this report.