Stepping up his tactic of confrontation for re-election, Donald Trump fires a series of racist tweets at Democratic Congresswomen.

Trump tweeted on Sunday:

Trump did not name the Congresswomen, but observers linked the tweet to four first-term representatives who have made an impact with their progressive policies and calls for actions on issues such as immigration, the environment, health care, and economic justice.

Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota was born in war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, who came to the US at age 12 with her family. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez of New York is of Puerto Rican descent. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — who, with Omar, are the first female Muslim representatives in US history — is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. Rep. Alyanna Pressley of Massachusetts grew up in Chicago.

Trump’s advisors are hoping, in the 2020 campaign, to portray the Congresswomen as key members of an “extremist” and “radical” faction which has taken over the Democratic Party. Their effort has been fueled this month by tensions between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the group, over how to respond to the Administration’s mass detention of migrants in inhumane conditions.

But the tweets could backfire by highlight Trump’s record on issues of race and religion. He has derided migrants from Central America as “animals”, excused — and some claim supported — white extremists over their violent in Virginia in 2017, labeled Caribbean and African countries as “shitholes”, insulted the Muslim parents of a Gold Star Marine killed in Iraq, and criticized a judge from Indiana as a “Mexican”.

“We’ve Got Things to Do”

The progressive Congresswomen each highlighted Trump’s “white nationalism” while focusing on their policies of inclusion.

Ocasio-Cortez cut to the heart of the matter with this message to Trump: “On top of not accepting an America that elected us, you cannot accept that we don’t fear you, either. You can’t accept that we will call your bluff & offer a positive vision for this country. And that’s what makes you seethe.”

Uniting Democrats

Other Democrats rallied around the Congresswomen. Significantly, Pelosi was among the first to respond:

She then highlighted a common line on Trump’s anti-immigrant “zero tolerance” policy:

I reject @realDonaldTrump’s xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation. Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values. Stop the raids.

Many Americans responded on social media that they had been the targets of versions of Trump’s taunt, starting at school and the playground. Among them was Senator and Presidential candidate Cory Booker: “We’ve heard this our whole lives. Now we hear it from the Oval Office.”

Rep. Ruben Gallegos of Arizona commented:

The White House and a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declined to comment. The staff of Republican House leaders did not respond to e-mails.

Meanwhile, Trump pressed ahead with his dehumanizing remarks about migrants. He tried to counter revelations of the inhumane conditions in which they are being held in detention centers, falsely claiming a “big percentage are criminals”.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were scheduled on Sunday to begin raids on undocumented immigrants in 10 cities, carrying out Trump’s order to deport “millions” of “illegal aliens”.

And he closed the day with another electioneering tweets, doubling down on his taunt:

Their disgusting language and the many terrible things they say about the United States must not be allowed to go unchallenged.