Theresa May has condemned Donald Trump’s racist attack on female Democrat congresswomen, calling the US president’s remarks ”completely unacceptable”.
Mr Trump prompted fury after suggesting that the unnamed politicians should “go back” to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came”.
He did not specify who he was referring to, but the attack was widely interpreted as being aimed at congresswomen of colour including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, who have all been critical of Mr Trump’s immigration policies in recent days.
Asked about Ms May’s views on the comments, her official spokesman said: “The prime minister’s view is that the language used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable.”
The response is Ms May’s strongest criticism of the Republican to date. She previously condemned his comments in the wake of the Charlottesville protests, and for retweeting far-right group British First, but has never before used such frank language.
The row began when Mr Trump posted on Twitter saying: “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.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. 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!”
Mr Trump has previously criticised Ms Ocasio-Cortez and Ms Omar, saying he “did not even know where they came from”. He claimed the pair were part of a group of Democrats being “disrespectful” to Ms Pelosi, the House speaker, after tensions between senior figures in the party and a younger generation of left-wing politicians.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a New York representative, responded to the latest outburst by claiming Mr Trump had “showed off his white nationalism for the world to see”.
She told him: “You are angry because you can’t conceive of an America that includes us. You rely on a frightened America for your plunder. You won’t accept a nation that sees healthcare as a right or education as a number one priority, especially where we’re the ones fighting for it. Yet here we are.”
Ms Omar tweeted: “Mr President, as members of congress, the only country we swear an oath to is the United States. Which is why we are fighting to protect it from the worst, most corrupt and inept president we have ever seen.”
She added: “You are stoking white nationalism because you are angry that people like us are serving in Congress and fighting against your hate-filled agenda.”
But Mr Trump hit back at accusations that his tweets were racist, saying: “So sad to see the Democrats sticking up for people who speak so badly of our country and who, in addition, hate Israel with a true and unbridled passion.
“Whenever confronted, they call their adversaries, including Nancy Pelosi, ‘RACIST’.