President Donald Trump on Tuesday used his speech to the nation’s largest group of college Republicans to further his racist attacks against four minority congresswomen.
Trump spoke for an hour at the Turning Point USA summit in Washington. Though TPUSA is a group for collegiate Republicans, with more than 1,000 chapters across the country and a pattern of racism and white supremacy in its top ranks, organizers said the audience included droves of high school students who were invited as part of a recruiting effort.
The president ranted and raved about Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), four first-term minority members of Congress, whom he told to “go back” to the countries they came from earlier this month.
“Democrats are being dragged into a radical left position ... with these people that I believe honestly, they hate our country,” he said to applause. “I believe they hate our country.”
The president repeatedly lied about the congresswomen, saying they “talk about ‘evil Jews’” and “say horrible things about Israel” with “venom and hatred.”
He falsely claimed that Ocasio-Cortez “calls the people of our country and our country ‘garbage’” (as the Raleigh News & Observer reported, she said something else completely). He repeatedly called Tlaib a “crazed lunatic” and a “maniac” over a video that surfaced this week in which she’s dragged out of a Trump rally, yelling, before she became a congresswoman.
He then veered from the attacks and claimed ― again, and without evidence ― that voting in California is “rigged” against him, an echo of his previous lies that millions of people are voting illegally in the state.
With each lie and smear came hoots, hollers and several standing ovations from the young audience. The event, part of a four-day summit, echoed Trump’s speech in North Carolina last week, in which he said of the four congresswomen, “if they don’t like” this country, “let them leave.” That audience began chanting “send her back,” a reference to Omar, who came to this country as a Somali refugee before becoming a citizen.
The North Carolina rally was widely criticized by pundits on both sides of the aisle. But during the TPUSA event on Tuesday, speakers defended the president by parroting his racism.
Speaking before Trump, Eric Bolling ― a former Fox News host who was fired after a sexual harassment investigation ― said the president was right to tell them to “go back,” especially Omar, whom he called “anti-Semitic.”
“A Somali refugee coming over here and becoming a member of Congress, to complain about the system, that’s just hypocrisy to me,” Bolling said.
Though Bolling and Trump spent plenty of time lashing out at the congresswomen for speaking their minds, Trump contradicted himself and Bolling in his own closing statement — though of course, he was talking about Republicans:
“The story of America has always been written by everyday citizens who love their country so much, they couldn’t help but speak out.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.