Trump says Rep. Ilhan Omar is 'lucky to be where she is'

The president double downs on his criticism of four Democratic congresswomen of color, including Omar, which was reminiscent of his 2016 campaign when he pushed racial boundaries.
5:01 | 07/20/19

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Transcript for Trump says Rep. Ilhan Omar is 'lucky to be where she is'
Here at home, president trump is doubling down on his criticisms of four democratic congresswomen while defending attendees of his rally who chanted "Send her back." ABC's white house correspondent Tara Palmeri live with more. Good morning to you this morning, Tara. Reporter: Good morning, Eva. The president seems to want it both ways. Just this morning he tweeted about the controversy again saying that he didn't lead the crowd on into this racist chant. He said that he wasn't happy with the chant either but then goes on to call his supporters patriots and said they did it because they love the usa. This morning, a defiant president trump. You can't talk that way about our country, not when I'm the president. Reporter: Walking back his disapproval of these racist chants. Reporter: Directed at four minority congresswomen. Instead, defending his supporters. Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots. Reporter: And doubling down with another attack against Minnesota congresswoman ilhan OMAR. But I'm unhappy when a congresswoman goes and says I'm going to be the president's nightmare. She's lucky to be where she is. We are going to continue to be a nightmare to this president. His policies -- because his policies are a nightmare to us. Reporter: This reversal comes just one day after the president told reporters that he felt uncomfortable with the uproar at that rally in North Carolina where attendees echoed these earlier tweets from nearly a week ago after telling Alexandria ocasio-cortez, Rashida Talib, Ayanna Pressley and ilhan OMAR to, quote, go back to the countries they came from, the president has railed against the congresswomen for days. They hate our country. They can leave, they can stay, but they should love our country. Reporter: All four lawmakers are American citizens. Three born in the U.S. And OMAR born in Somalia. Another voice has joined the public outrage, former first lady Michelle Obama who had this to say. What truly makes our country great is its diversity. We must remember it's not my America or your America. It's our America. This latest firestorm might be a sign of what's to come in 2020. The president embracing a campaign based on racial divisions and identity politics. It's not unlike how he started his first campaign by calling Mexicans rapists. Dan? Tara Palmeri in New Jersey, thank you. A lot to talk about so let's bring in ABC news chief political analyst Matthew dowd who joins us from Texas. What's your take on this flurry of comments from president trump about the "Send her back" chant? Is he walking back his walk-back from Thursday or do his new comments in any way nullify his apparent disavowal from Thursday? To paraphrase John Kerry, he was for it before he was against it before he was for it again. I think all of us know Donald Trump. We've known him since he came down the escalator when he called Mexicans rapists. I don't think Donald Trump can walk away from it not only because of his constituency but because of who Donald Trump is. This is who Donald Trump is. I think we have to be clear about that but I think Donald Trump tried to get credit for a walk-back but again, within 24 hours he was right back in the middle of it. So, Tara Palmeri was saying a few moments ago from New Jersey where the president is spending the weekend that she thinks this is the way he's going to campaign in 2020. I'm just wondering, from the standpoint of a cold clinical political calculation, do racially charged comments help or hurt the president with the voters in the key states that he needs to win in 2020? Well, one, I think the president just does these things as guttural. I don't think he has some grand political strategy, but I think with the president, ever since he took office, has not made one step to expand his constituency. Every day he goes without expanding his constituency when he started with 46 and he's dropped is a bad day for the president. I think it helps consolidate his base but it doesn't do anything to expand his constituency to get to a point where he can again take Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He has a solid base and he continues to solidify that but it's a smaller and smaller base. One thing I'll point out on this day of the lunar landing, Dan, is that the Democrats have to not go small and divisive. They have to go big, just like the landing. For thousands of years men and women looked at the moon in awe and curiosity and then from being unified through the common good, through working diligently, we were able to send a man to the moon 50 years ago today. So Democrats need to go big like that and not be small and divisive as the president seems to have a strategy of. More democratic presidential debates coming up very soon. Matthew dowd, we really appreciate your analysis as always. Thank you, sir, and have a great day.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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