- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 21, 2019

BEDMINSTER, New Jersey — President Trump renewed his attacks on four liberal congresswomen Sunday, saying Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and “The Squad” are not “capable of loving our Country.”

“They should apologize to America (and Israel) for the horrible (hateful) things they have said,” the president tweeted from his golf resort in New Jersey. “They are destroying the Democrat Party, but are weak & insecure people who can never destroy our great Nation!”

After a full week of feuding with the Democrats and defending himself and his supporters against accusations of hateful rhetoric, the president showed that he will persist with his criticism of the four female lawmakers as a high-profile argument for his reelection.

Mr. Trump ignited the feud eight days ago by suggesting in a tweet that the lawmakers “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” That led to chants of “send her back” from Trump supporters directed at Somalia-born Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, followed by the president’s disavowal of the chants, and then his insistence that the chanting supporters are “incredible patriots.”

Some Republican officials expressed discomfort Sunday with the president’s latest comment about the freshman Democrats being incapable of loving their country.

“That’s his opinion; I don’t agree with it,” Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, said of the president on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I would like to see everybody tone down their rhetoric and start concentrating on the big problems.”

SEE ALSO: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Donald Trump enjoyed Ilhan Omar ‘Send her back’ chants

Critics, accusing Mr. Trump of hypocrisy, point to his harsh criticism of President Barack Obama in 2016. But White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” drew a distinction between Mr. Trump’s labeling of Mr. Obama as “ignorant” and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s comparison of Border Patrol agents with guards at Nazi concentration camps.

“These four congresswomen detest America as it exists,” Mr. Miller said. “They want to tear down the structure of our country. They want it to be a socialist, open-borders country. If you, as Donald Trump says, want to destroy America with open borders, you cannot say you love your country. There’s a huge difference between ‘America First’ and an ideology that runs down America.”

He said Mr. Trump “has been a president for all Americans.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said the president enjoyed hearing supporters at a campaign rally last week chant “send her back.”

“We’re going to stay right here, that’s where we’re going to go,” the lawmaker told her constituents in New York on Saturday. “We’re not going anywhere.”

On ABC’s “This Week,” House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, a Maryland Democrat who is black and was born in 1951, said Mr. Trump’s comments about “The Squad,” which also includes Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, took him back to his younger days when he was trying to integrate a neighborhood pool.

“As we did march towards that pool … I was beaten and all kinds of rocks and bottles,” he said. “I heard the same kinds of chants — ‘Go home. You don’t belong here.’ When Trump does these things — when the president does these things — it brings up the same feelings I had 50 years ago.”

Two Democratic presidential candidates, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, have compared Mr. Trump to the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace, an avowed segregationist.

“He is actually using racist tropes and racial language for political gains, trying to use this as a weapon to divide our nation against itself,” Mr. Booker said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And this is somebody who is very similar to George Wallace. … He’s using the exact same language.”

While touching off a furor, the president defiantly signaled that he intends to keep raising the issue during his reelection campaign so voters will identify the four far-left lawmakers as the leading voices in the Democratic Party.

Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp said on ABC’s “This Week” that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues are “dictating the rules of the Democratic Party.”

“They’re fundamentally criticizing the United States when they’re pushing forward policies that are basically anti-Semitic, when they’re attacking our law enforcement,” she said. “When you’re pushing a socialist or a communist agenda and you’re attacking Americans, that’s a problem.”

As Democrats stepped up their accusations of racism against the president, Mr. Trump over the weekend also waded into the case of a black American hip-hop artist, A$AP Rocky, who is being held without formal charges in Sweden.

The president called Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven on Saturday at the behest of Kanye West, offered to “personally vouch” for the rapper’s bail and said the case should unite all Americans.

“He has tremendous support from the African American community in this country,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “And when I say ‘African American,’ I think I can really say ‘from everybody in this country,’ because we’re all one.”

A$AP Rocky, a U.S. citizen whose real name is Rakim Mayers, is accused of assaulting a man in Stockholm, though he claims he was acting in self-defense. Mr. Trump revealed Friday that he elevated the issue through diplomatic channels after first lady Melania Trump, Mr. West and a number of people in the “African-American community” brought it to his attention.

But the prime minister seemed to rebuff Mr. Trump’s overture.

Mr. Lovren said he “cannot and will not attempt to influence prosecutors or courts,” according to The Associated Press.

“I will explain that the Swedish judicial system is independent,” he said. “In Sweden, everyone is equal before the law, and this includes visitors from other countries.”

Mr. Trump tweeted that he expects to discuss the case with Mr. Lovren by Monday.

Gabriella Muñoz and Jay LeBlanc contributed to this report.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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