U.S. Rep. John Katko has issued a response to President Donald Trump's racist tweets published Sunday that criticize Democratic congresswomen and suggest they should "go back" to their countries, even though they are American citizens and all but one were born in the U.S. 

Trump didn't name the congresswomen in his tweets, but it's believed he's referring to U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib. 

"So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run," Trump wrote in a series of tweets. 

He continued, "Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." 

Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib were born in the United States. Omar was born in Somalia, but her family fled the war-torn nation and came to the U.S. when she was a child. She became a U.S. citizen in 2000. 

Katko, R-Camillus, said the president's tweets about the Democrats, all of whom are women of color, "were wrong."

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"I have vehemently criticized lawmakers on the far left when I disagree with the direction in which they want to take the country — but criticism should focus on policy," he said in a statement Monday. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Monday that the House of Representatives would vote on a resolution condemning Trump's tweets. Pelosi, a California Democrat, blasted the president for his "xenophobic" comments. 

Katko is one of several Republicans who offered mild criticism of the president's remarks. Others were more forceful. U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, told CNN the tweets are "racist and xenophobic." Another Texas Republican, U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, urged the president to "immediately disavow" his comments. 

The Washington Post reported Monday that Trump doesn't regret his tweets. 

"It doesn't concern me because many people agree with me," Trump told reporters at the White house. "And all I'm saying — they want to leave, they can leave." 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.