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Read a transcript of remarks Trump made in defending his tweets

Trump attacks congresswomen on Twitter
President Donald Trump attacked a group of congresswomen on Twitter and said they should go back to the ‘‘broken and crime infested’’ countries they came from.

The following are remarks President Trump made Monday afternoon about tweets he sent Sunday in which he told progressive congresswomen to go back to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

The comments came during his third annual “Made in America” product showcase at the White House.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay, you have any questions on how well our manufacturing business is doing, press? The press. Wow, that’s a lot of press. Look.

Q President Trump, who were you talking about in your tweet about going back to their home countries?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t mention -- I didn’t mention names. And I didn’t do that. But I will tell you, with our country -- and I think everybody in this audience, these are great manufacturers, great workers in our audience too; they brought a lot of their workers here. If you’re not happy here, then you can leave. As far as I’m concerned, if you hate our country -- (applause) -- if you’re not happy here, you can leave. And that’s what I say all the time. That’s what I said in a tweet, which I guess some people think is controversial. A lot of people love it, by the way. A lot of people love it.

But if you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time -- very simply, you can leave. You can leave right now. Come back if you want; don’t come back. It’s okay too. But if you’re not happy, you can leave. (Applause.)

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Q Speaker Pelosi (inaudible). Is that true?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s just a very racist statement, somebody that would say that. So, Speaker Pelosi said, “Make America white again.” Let me tell you, that’s a very racist -- that’s a very racist statement. I’m surprised she’d say that.

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John, go ahead.

Q Mr. President, three of the congresswomen that you talked about were born in America. (Inaudible.) What were you talking about?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, they’re very unhappy. I’m watching them; all they do is complain. So all I’m saying is, if they want to leave, they can leave, John. They can leave.

I mean, I look at the one -- I look at Omar -- I don’t know, I never met her. I hear the way she talks about al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has killed many Americans. She said, “You can hold your chest out, you can -- when I think of America…huh…when I think of al Qaeda, I can hold my chest out.” When she talked about the World Trade Center being knocked down, “Some people.” You remember the famous “some people.” These are people that, in my opinion, hate our country.

Now, you can say what you want, but get a list of all of the statements they’ve made. And all I’m saying: that if they’re not happy here, they can leave. They can leave. And you know what? I’m sure that there’ll be many people that won’t miss them.

Q But they’re American citizens. What do you make of the fact that they’re American citizens?

THE PRESIDENT: But they have to love -- they have to love our country. They’re Congress people. And I never used any names. But these are people --

Q Are you okay with people thinking your tweets are racist, Mr. President?

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THE PRESIDENT: Quiet. Quiet. Quiet. Quiet.

Q Mr. President, are you okay with people thinking your tweets are racist, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Quiet.

Q I’m asking a question, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: These are people that if they don’t like it here, they can leave. And I’d be -- I don’t know who’s going to miss them, but I guess some people will. One of them is polling -- one of them is polling at 8 -- one of them is polling at 8 percent. (Applause.) One of them is polling at 8 percent.

So when -- when I hear people speaking about how wonderful al Qaeda is, when I hear people talking about “some people” -- “some” people with the World Trade Center -- “some people”? No, not “some people.” Much more than “some people.”

When I hear the statements that they’ve made -- and in one case, you have somebody that comes from Somalia, which is a failed government, a failed state -- who left Somalia, who ultimately came here, and now is a Congresswoman who’s never happy; says horrible things about Israel. Hates Israel. Hates Jews. Hates Jews. It’s very simple.

And if the Democrats want to wrap their bows around this group of four people -- one of them kept Amazon out of New York, tens of thousands of jobs. It would’ve been a great thing. And she kept Amazon from going -- it would’ve been a good deal. I mean, could he have made better? Maybe. But tens of thousands of jobs, and New York has not been the same since that happened. It’s really hurt New York and New York City. Amazon was going to go there. They were going to relocate a major section of their business in New York. She kept them out. That was a terrible thing she did. A terrible thing she did.

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So here’s the story -- here’s the story: I see them complaining. They’re complaining constantly. I watched Lindsey Graham today on Fox & Friends talking about the same subject --

Q He says you went too far, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: -- and, frankly, even stronger than what I’m saying.

Q He says you went too far, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: He said they’re “communists.” I’m saying that they’re socialists definitely. As to whether to not they’re communists, I would think they might be, but this isn’t what our country is about. Nevertheless, they’re free to leave if they want. And if they want to leave, that’s fine. And if they want to stay, that’s fine. But the people have to know.

And politicians can’t be afraid to take them on. A politician that hears somebody, where we’re at war with al Qaeda, and sees somebody talking about how great al Qaeda is -- pick out her statement -- that was Omar. How great al Qaeda is -- when you hear that -- and we’re losing great soldiers to al Qaeda.

When you see the World Trade Center gets knocked down, and you see the statements made about the World Trade Center -- all the death and destruction -- I’ll tell you what: I’m not happy with them. And it’s very easy to be -- say, “Oh, gee. Well, it’s okay.” If weak politicians want to say -- and the Democrats, in this case -- if they want to gear their wagons around these four people, I think they’re going to have a very tough election because I don’t think the people of United States will stand for it. (Applause.)

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Q Mr. President --

THE PRESIDENT: John, go ahead. Go ahead, John.

Q Mr. President, let me see if I can sum up, sort of, what people are talking about here.

THE PRESIDENT: Go ahead.

Q Does it concern you that that tweet was seen as racist? Lindsey Graham said -- he encouraged you to aim higher. And does it trouble you --

THE PRESIDENT: No, no. He didn’t say about the -- he just said, “Don’t go…” See, I disagree with Lindsey.

Q Oh, okay. But can I just finish?

THE PRESIDENT: These are congresswomen. What am I supposed to do? Just wait for senators? No. These are four -- so I disagree with Lindsey on that. That was the only thing. He said, “Aim higher. Shoot higher.” What am I going to do? Wait until we get somebody else in a higher position? A higher office? These are people that hate our country.

Q But -- but --

THE PRESIDENT: Hey, John. They hate our country. They hate it, I think, with a passion. Now, it’s possible I’m wrong. The voter will decide. But when I hear the way they talk about our country, when I hear the anti-Semitic language they use, when I hear the hatred they have for Israel, and the love they have for enemies like al Qaeda -- then you know what?

I will tell you that I do not believe this is good for the Democrat Party. Certainly, it’s not the party that I’ve known over the years.

Q But could I get -- could I just finish? Does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?

THE PRESIDENT: It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me. And all I’m saying -- they want to leave, they can leave. Now, it doesn’t say leave forever. It says leave, if you want.

But what it says -- and what that -- John, what that says is: If they’re not happy with the United States, if they’re doing nothing but criticizing us all the time -- you see these people walking down, criticizing the United States.

We just hit the highest stock market in history. All of these incredible manufacturers that are in -- these are great business people. They employ many people, and we have workers with us, too. They’re having the best year they’ve ever had. Can I say that? Is that a correct statement? (Applause.)

So -- and they’re hiring more people than they’ve had. And more people are making a good living than they’ve ever had. We just hit 27,000-plus on the Dow. It’s the highest the stock market has ever been. And you have to go by the election because the markets started going up the day after I won. You know, they like to add all of that tremendous gain. They like to try and give it to Obama. The fact is, if I would’ve lost, the stock market would crash. And if these people that I watch in those debates ever got their hands on the United States government, 401(k)s, the values of your company, everything else that we talk about we’re so proud of, it’s down the tubes. People will lose their money. They’ll lose their wealth. You’ll have a crash like you’ve never seen before. And I’m really good at this stuff; I know what I’m talking about.

Thank you all very much. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

Q Mr. President, why didn’t your threats about the ICE raids -- Mr. President, ICE raids. Why didn’t they happen? Was it (inaudible) scare people?

THE PRESIDENT: The ICE raids -- the ICE raids --

Q Was that just to scare people, Mr. President? Why didn’t your threats match the action?

THE PRESIDENT: The ICE raids were very successful. People came into our country illegally. Illegally. Many were felons. Many were convicted of crimes. Many, many were taken out on Sunday. You just didn’t know about it.

Q How many?

THE PRESIDENT: In fact, I went to a -- I spoke to the head of ICE. I spoke to a couple of people. We had many people -- it was a very successful day. But you didn’t see a lot of it because it was done --

Q How many?

THE PRESIDENT: A lot. You’ll speak to them. And I don’t -- I’m not even sure they should be telling you, but it was a lot. And it wouldn’t have to be Sunday.

We’ve been doing this -- look, we have been removing MS-13. They’re monsters. We’ve been removing MS-13 by the thousands during my administration. And I tell my people -- it’s much easier to go the other route -- but I say, “Focus on the criminals. Focus on the people that are killing people, that are causing crime. Focus on them.” Much easier just to go to general population. That’s easy. But I don’t do it the easy way.

We’re getting tremendous numbers of criminals. And yesterday, it was just reported to me before I walked -- because I said, “How did that go yesterday?” It didn’t have to start yesterday. The truth is it started a number of days before yesterday, but yesterday was very successful.

People come into our country illegally, and they go out legally. Every person taken out had papers and we had court orders. Okay, thank you.

How about getting the manufacturers up here? Come on up. Come on up.

(The executive order is signed.)