US President Donald Trump has doubled down in his online attacks against "the squad" of four democratic congresswomen, claiming they should be apologising to him after his message was widely condemned as racist.
"When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologise to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said," Trump tweeted on Monday.
"So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!"
"If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S (sic)"
It comes after Trump sparked an avalanche of criticism on Sunday when he tweeted the liberal representatives "came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe". He said they should "go back and help fix" the "broken and crime infested places from which they came".
The group he refers to includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. All four women are US citizens from ethnic minority backgrounds and three were born in the US, with Ilhan Omar moving from Somalia and becoming a citizen at age 17.
The tweets prompted a huge backlash from Democrats and Republicans alike. House speaker Nancy Pelosi said it showed Trump's "plan to 'Make America Great Again' has always been about making America white again."
Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Beto O'Rourke slammed the comments as "racist" and "xenophobic". Republican senator Lindsay Graham also said the President should "aim higher" and that the women were "American citizens" who were "duly elected." However he also said they "hate our own country" and "hate Israel."
UK Prime Minister Theresa May called President Trump's language "completely unacceptable".
The congresswomen themselves have reacted strongly in response to Trump's tweets. Bronx-born representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said "It's important to note that the President's words yday (sic), telling four American Congresswomen of colour "go back to your own country," is hallmark language of white supremacists."
"Trump feels comfortable leading the GOP into outright racism, and that should concern all Americans," she said.
Rashida Tlaib quoted a Beyonce lyric when she said "Okay, ladies, now let's get in formation. Love to ALL my sisters in service (at home & in Congress), we only grow stronger lifting each other up."
Ayanna Pressley said "we're not going anywhere," while fellow Democrat said he was never told to "go back," suggesting the President's tweets were motivated by skin-colour.
The attacks come as the White House announced a crackdown on those crossing the southern border into the US, with new rules due to take effect on Tuesday.
President Trump's team has blocked migrants entering the US if they've come through another country first in rules that are expected to face a legal challenge.
"The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border," said Attorney-General Bill Barr in a statement.
"This rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States," he added.
Statistics from US Customs and Border protection show the number of people apprehended at the US border has surged in 2019, with the number of family units, single adults and "unaccompanied alien children" spiking in May. Overall numbers of apprehensions are higher in 2019 than previous years since 2014, statistics show.