- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 17, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is declining to directly answer whether he thinks President Donald Trump’s comments toward four minority women in the U.S. House were racist.

Asked by reporters Wednesday about Trump’s comments, Grassley repeated earlier remarks in which he called for civility among elected officials.

Grassley says public officials should avoid name calling and shouldn’t question others’ patriotism.

Trump tweeted Sunday that four Democratic freshmen women of color should “go back” to their home countries. All are citizens and three are U.S. born.

Grassley also refused to comment on Iowa Rep. Steve King’s criticism of Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who initially agreed the president’s tweets were racist.

King, who has been removed from committee assignments as punishment for his own statements about race, tweeted Tuesday morning that Ernst shouldn’t advance what he called Democrats’ “fake news narrative” against Trump.

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