President Donald Trump has said a group of Democratic congresswomen should go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came”, ignoring the fact the women are American citizens and all but one was born in the US.
Mr Trump’s tweets drew a sharp rebuke from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said the President wants to “make America white again”.
Republican Representative Justin Amash, a Trump critic who recently took steps to leave his party, called the remarks “racist and disgusting”.
Mr Trump was almost certainly referring to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and her allies in what has become known as the squad.
The others are Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.
Only Ms Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.
With his remarks, Mr Trump again inserted himself into a rift between Ms Pelosi and the liberal congresswomen, after offering an unsolicited defence of the Democratic speaker days earlier.
Ms Pelosi has been seeking to minimise Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s influence in recent days, prompting Ms Ocasio-Cortez to accuse Ms Pelosi of trying to marginalise women of colour.
“She is not a racist,” Mr Trump said on Friday.
On Sunday, Mr Trump’s tone changed.
“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,” he said in tweets.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
He added: “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!”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez was the first to hit back, tweeting: "Mr President, the country I 'come from, & the country we all swear to, is the United States."
The Democratic Congresswoman continued to lambaste the President over the US immigration system, and what she said was his unwillingness to "accept a nation that sees healthcare as a right or education as a #1 priority".
Ms Omar also hit back at the President, echoing Ms Ocasio-Cortez that the "only country we swear an oath to is the United States".
She continued: "Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen.
Ms Pressley accused Mr Trump of "racism", adding "WE are what democracy looks like".
While Rashida Tlaib attacked the "complete failure of a President", adding that the US's problems have been caused by Mr Trump and he "needs to be impeached".
Ms Tlaib added she was "fighting corruption in OUR country" and that she was fighting "for the communities you continue to degrade and attack".
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, was born in the Bronx, New York, and raised in suburban Westchester County.
Ms Pressley, the first black woman elected to the House from Massachusetts, was born in Cincinnati.
Ms Omar, the first Somali native elected to Congress and one of its first Muslim women, was born in Somalia but spent much of her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp as civil war tore apart her home country.
She immigrated to the United States at age 12, teaching herself English by watching American TV and eventually settling with her family in Minneapolis.
Ms Tlaib was born in Detroit.