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Facing censure, Trump insists ‘not a racist bone in my body’

WASHINGTON — Defiant in the face of widespread censure, US President Donald Trump insists his tweets suggesting four Democratic congresswomen of color return to the countries they “came from” — even when three of the four were born in the US — “were NOT Racist,” and he appeals to fellow Republicans to “not show weakness” and to resist a House resolution condemning his words.

“I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” Trump exclaims on Twitter, a day after declaring that “many people agree” with his assessment of the four freshman lawmakers.

“Those Tweets were NOT Racist,” Trump writes amid a continued backlash to his weekend tweets that progressive women “go back” to their “broken and crime-infested” countries. The tweets, which have been widely denounced as racist, were directed at Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All are American citizens, and three of the four were born in the US.

Trump alleges again that the women, who strongly oppose his policies and comments, in reality “hate our Country.”

The four lawmakers fired back late Monday, condemning what they called “xenophobic bigoted remarks” and renewing calls for Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings.

The episode served notice that Trump is willing to again rely on incendiary rhetoric on issues of race and immigration to preserve his political base in the leadup to the 2020 election. He shrugged off the criticism. “It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “A lot of people love it, by the way.”

At the Capitol, there was near unanimous condemnation from Democrats and a rumble of discontent from a subset of Republicans, but notably not from the party’s congressional leaders.

— AP

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