GREENVILLE (AP) — A combative President Donald Trump rallied Republican supporters Wednesday in North Carolina, harshly criticizing four fiery, left-wing congresswoman of being un-American and claiming they are the face of the Democratic Party that will ruin the country.

"I think in some cases they hate our country," President Trump said to the crowd in North Carolina, a swing state he won in 2016 and wants to win again next year.

President Trump's jabs were aimed at the four freshman Democrats, self-described as "the squad," who have garnered attention since their arrival in January for their outspoken liberal views and distaste for the president: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All were born in the U.S. except for Rep. Omar, who came to the U.S. as a child after fleeing Somalia with her family.

President Trump recently tweeted that the Democratic congresswomen of color should "go back" to their home countries — though three were born in the United States. President Trump has accused the four of "spewing some of the most vile, hateful and disgusting things ever said by a politician" and has told them, "If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!"

When he named them at Wednesday's rally, the crowd booed and launched into chants of "Send her back!"

Before he left Washington, D.C., President Trump said he has no regrets about his ongoing spat with the four. Ho told reporters he thinks he's "winning the political argument" and "winning it by a lot."

"If people want to leave our country, they can. If they don't want to love our country, if they don't want to fight for our country, they can," President Trump said. "I'll never change on that."

President Trump's harsh denunciations were another sign that the nation is in store for a combative presidential election.

His speech was filled with President Trump's trademark criticisms about the news media, which he says sides with liberals, and special prosecutor Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Mr. Mueller had been scheduled to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill, but it was postponed. President Trump brought him up anyway. "What happened to me with this witch hunt should never be allowed to happen to another president," he said.

He also talked about illegal immigration, a main theme of his first presidential bid that is taking center stage in his reelection campaign. He brushed off the criticism he has gotten for saying that the congresswomen should go back home. "So controversial," he said sarcastically.

The four freshmen have portrayed the president as a bully who wants to "vilify" not only immigrants, but all people of color. They say they are fighting for their priorities to lower health care costs and pass a Green New Deal addressing climate change, while his thundering attacks are a distraction and tear at the core of America vales.

The Democratic-led U.S. House voted Tuesday to condemn President Trump for what they considered "racist comments," despite near-solid GOP opposition and the president's own insistence that he doesn't have a "racist bone" in his body.

President Trump hasn't shown signs of being rattled by the House rebuke, and called an impeachment resolution that failed in Congress earlier in the day "ridiculous." The condemnation carries no legal repercussions and his latest harangues struck a chord with his die-hard conservative base. President Trump's comments about it in Greenville only fired up the crowd, whose chants of "Four more years!" and "Build that wall!" bounced off the rafters.

President Trump was greeted in an arena at East Carolina University by supporters, many sporting red-white-and-blue outfits and waving "Trump 2020" and "Women for Trump" signs. Vice President Mike Pence was first up after spending the day in Fayetteville and visiting troops at Fort Bragg.

"North Carolina and American needs four more years," Vice President Pence said.

It was President Trump's sixth visit to the state as president and his first 2020 campaign event in North Carolina, where he defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Before the president arrived, Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, spoke at a rally in Greenville and called President Trump "just another corrupt snake oil salesman."

"From sparking a harmful trade war that puts our farmers in the crosshairs, to giving corporations a billion-dollar giveaway at the expense of our middle class, to repeatedly pushing to end protections for pre-existing conditions and raise health care costs, his broken promises have hurt hard-working families across North Carolina," Mr. Goodwin said.

(14) comments

John Bonney

When North Carolinian's get pushed back up to a fence. They tend to push back. We've had 12 to 20 years of politically correct hogwash. The past six or so years: microaggressions. I'd suggest that most of us have reached that fence. Listening to the resident social anarchist from Wisconsin: there's little doubt she is the antithesis of the American Dream. Record prosperity for Americans and she would tear it all down. No thanks. Get used to the push back. It's been far too long on coming.

DeadBolt

Amen John................ However, all the while these commie's are comparing their virtue, this is what happened, which should have been on the fake news sites. hahahahahahah [ https://www.apnews.com/6bef9ed6c48b4c2ea203cbbea3ccacad ] [beam]

chainsaw

Congrats ENC you are now the laughing stock of the entire country. You think any business would set up shop here or relocate? Better hope your little military never decides they have had enough. Ship your little FRC east somewhere else. It will happen when the Dem's retake this country!

DeadBolt

hhahahahahahahahaha Out of the over 20,000 people who attended, how many do ya think own a small business! That was America , everywhere Trump goes, he's welcome, now the other folks are really feelin the Burn, as in bernie blues! hahahahahahahahahahaha MAGA........ TRUMP 4 EVA! Think we may just install him permanent!

DeadBolt

PS SAW..... the dems are done............. so we put together a message for all of the dems/ communists/ or whatever your calling yourselves today, et, etc.... [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPvP67YCgUE ] Enjoy!

rooster

Chainsaw- That don't really make any sense. "Little military".....really? Anti Cherry Point I guess. The most powerful and capable military in the world has bases all over the world. Cherry Point just happens to be the largest MCAS so I wouldn't count on it going anywhere soon. NOT a chance!

dc

You're absolutely right rooster and these people hollering there's not enough good paying jobs here, Take the two bases away and there will be basically none.

chainsaw

Just my point dc take away your military bases and you remove the govt' teat from enc. Rooster if cherrie pt. is so valuable where are the f-35's Darn near every base in the us and over seas has at least 1 squadron. Cannot be that valuable. Keep sucking off that govt' teat.

dc

If the bases have been the great majority of the good paying jobs since the early 40s (almost 80 yrs) and nothing substantial has added to or replaced them what do you propose will now or in the future? Don't hold your breath for anything you or anyone else can dream up. If you haven't got use to how it is by now you never will. We are drop in the bucket for the govt teat as you put it compared DC, Northern Va. & MD. Better be thankful for what little milk we are getting.

DeadBolt

And.............. TRUMP IS STILL YOUR PRESIDENT! [wink]

dc

Anyone who has a need to bad-mouth the military keep at least a couple points in mind. DOD (i.e. the military) exists to protect this country and its citizens. It's one of the few if not the only agency that determines whether we remain free and the greatest country on earth and it presents job and other opportunities depending on what one makes of them. Every govt agency has plenty of waste but you and I wouldn't be here today without the military.

Benelli

Omar's views are at best, uninformed. However she is a elected official, with no real congressional power. Donald Trump is the president and also has been very critical of our country. In a free country we have a right to disagree with our government. When we disagree, is it right for us to be "sent back"?

chainsaw

Put all your eggs in one basket and what do you have? Eastern NC.

dc

These packed highways most of the day every day are just going in and out of the egg baskets right? Don't know where they all come from but they must work somewhere besides the bases since it's heavy all during the day not just morning and evening base traffic. Lots of retirees for sure but they probably stay off the roads a little. Maybe it's mostly Wal-Mart traffic.

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