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Trump says progressive congresswomen should 'go back' where 'they came' from

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By Allan Smith  with NBC News Politics
Image: Former Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen Testifies Before House Oversight C
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen as Michael Cohen, former attorney and fixer for President Donald Trump, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill Feb. 27, 2019.   -   Copyright  Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Sunday said progressive congresswomen should "go back" and try to fix the "crime infested places" where "they came" from before telling the U.S. government how to handle its problems.

"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 three tweets.

"Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," the president continued. "Then come back and show us how it is done. 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!"

Though he did not mention anyone by name in his tweets, the president appeared to reference a group of progressive congresswomen who have generated headlines and, recently, whose influence was downplayed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

That group includes Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

Tlaib, a Palestinian American, was born in Michigan; Omar, a Somali refugee, moved to the U.S. when she was 12 and is a naturalized U.S. citizen; Ocasio-Cortez, who is of Latin-American descent, was born in New York; and Pressley, who is African American, was born in Cincinnati.

A weeklong feud involving the progressive congresswomen and Democratic leadership might have played a role in Trump's tweets. Referencing the four women, Pelosi said in a Maureen Dowd op-ed published by The New York Times last week: "All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn't have any following. They're four people, and that's how many votes they got."

In response, Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview that she and a handful of her congressional allies were being singled out by Pelosi as "newly elected women of color," saying, "it got to a point where it was just outright disrespectful."

Trump jumped into the fray himself last week, defending Pelosi and saying Ocasio-Cortez is the one who's been disrespectful.

"A group of people that came from — I don't know where they came from — I'm looking at this Omar from Minnesota," he added. "And if one half of the things they're saying about her are true, she shouldn't even be in office."