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  1. ITV Report

Congresswomen told to 'go home' by Donald Trump accuse him of a 'white nationalist' agenda

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

US President Donald Trump has been accused of having a "white nationalist" agenda by one of the four congresswomen he attacked in a series of comments that have seen him branded racist and internationally condemned.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley appeared at a joint news conference to condemn Trump's "blatantly racist attack," criticising his treatment of migrants on the Mexican border and calling for his impeachment.

Omar slammed his comments as "the agenda of white nationalists," while Ocasio-Cortez said she was "not surprised" by the president's actions, describing his comments as a "distraction".

"We don't leave the things we love," Ocasio-Cortez said, "we love all people in this country."

Rashida Tlaib, llhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley Credit: AP

It follows a tweetstorm on Sunday evening in which Trump hit out at four congresswomen "who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept any where in the world" and suggested "why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came".

He has been widely condemned by world leaders for the comments.

Tory leadership rivals Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson both criticised Trump's comments, but refused to condemn the remarks as racist.

Speaking at a debate hosted by The Sun, Mr Johnson said he agreed with Theresa May who had earlier called the president's language "completely unacceptable".

Trump's latest controversial tweet has opened a fresh rift between the president and Theresa May. Credit: PA Images

"If you are the leader of a great multiracial, multicultural society you simply cannot use that kind of language about sending people back to where they came from," Mr Johnson said.

Mr Hunt said he also agreed with Downing Street's condemnation.

"I have three half-Chinese children, and they are British citizens born on the NHS, and if anyone ever said to them 'go back to China', I would be utterly appalled," he said.

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"And I would say something else, it is totally un-British to do that and so I hope that would never happen in this country."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Trump's comments about the congresswomen are "not how we do things in Canada."

  • Who is President Trump referring to?

While Mr Trump did not name the four, he is believed to have been referring to congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib. Only Ms Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.

Undeterred by critics, he took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to quote comments given on Fox by Senator Lindsey Graham, saying "we all know that... this crowd are a bunch of Communists" who hate America and Israel.

While Mr Trump did not name the four, he is believed to have been referring to congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib. Only Ms Omar, from Somalia, is foreign-born.

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From left to right: Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Credit: AP

In his tweet, quoting Senator Graham, he said: "We all know that AOC and this crowd are a bunch of Communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own Country, they’re calling the guards along our Border (the Border Patrol Agents) Concentration Camp Guards, they accuse people who support Israel as doing it for the Benjamin’s... they are Anti-Semitic."

Downing Street made clear the Prime Minister’s view of Mr Trump’s Sunday comments.

“Her view is that the language which was used to refer to the women was completely unacceptable,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

The spokesman said he was not aware of any plans for Mrs May to speak to the president.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the president’s comments were “not OK and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly”.

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Mr Trump's comments led to attacks from senior Democrats, with presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren condemning the “racist and xenophobic attack” and another 2020 contender, former Texas representative Beto O’Rourke saying “this is racist”.

Despite the backlash over his comments, Mr Trump remained unrepentant on Monday, suggesting the congresswomen should apologise.

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The latest row follows the storm created by the leak of sensitive diplomatic messages from the UK’s ambassador in Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, which prompted the envoy’s resignation.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating the leak, but have been accused of being “heavy handed” in their approach to the reporting of further releases.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis called for senior officer Neil Basu to be pulled from the investigation after he urged journalists in possession of leaked Government documents to return them, warning any further publication from the dispatches could result in prosecution.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis Credit: Brian Lawless/PA

Mr Davis wrote to the Times accusing Mr Basu of “straying beyond his brief” and called for commissioner Cressida Dick to put the investigation in the hands of “an officer who puts preservation of our free press ahead of protection of the state’s reputation”.

He wrote that prosecuting journalists for “embarrassing the state is not what we do in the UK”.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee Damian Collins urged the force to focus on the leaker, rather than the media publishing the leaks.

He told the Sun: “The Metropolitan Police should… make it clear that there is no legal risk for newspapers freely reporting on the leaked documents.

“Neil Basu’s statement was clearly a threat aimed at newspaper editors encouraging them not to report on a story, in which there is clear public interest.”

US president Donald Trump hit out at the UK’s ambassador to Washington after the leak Credit: Chris Jackson/PA

Downing Street refused to be drawn on assistant commissioner Mr Basu’s comments.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The leak was completely unacceptable and the person who leaked the documents should now face the consequences.

“I’m not going to comment on an ongoing investigation and it’s important that the police are now able to get on with their work.”

The investigation to identify the leaker “has the Government’s full support”, the spokesman said.

“On press freedom, the Prime Minister’s views are very well known – as she has said, a free press is one of the foundations on which our democracy rests.”

Sir Kim Darroch, who resigned as the UK ambassador to the US Credit: Niall Carson/PA

Sir Kim resigned last week saying his position had become “impossible” following the leak of diplomatic cables in which he described Donald Trump’s White House as “inept” and “dysfunctional”.

The Mail on Sunday released further details of his correspondence, including a memorandum from May 2018 in which the ambassador suggested Mr Trump had decided to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in an act of spite because it was agreed by his predecessor Barack Obama.