“What’s your ethnicity?”
That’s how top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway responded to a reporter question on Tuesday about the president’s continued denial of accusations of racism after he unleashed a series of tweets over the weekend telling several Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to their original countries.
All of the four he’s believed to refer to — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib — are American citizens.
Omar is the only one not born in the U.S.
The tweets have prompted condemnation from world leaders including the U.K.’s Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, with both female leaders calling the remarks by the president unacceptable.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not explicitly condemned them.
But south of the border, the remarks continue to dominate the political discussion, with Democrats in the House of Representatives set to vote Tuesday night on a resolution to sharply condemn the president’s tweets as “racist.”
In the tweets, U.S. President Donald Trump attacked the congresswomen he suggested were too critical of the country.
WATCH BELOW: Donald Trump says group of four Democratic congresswomen ‘hate’ the United States
“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,” he wrote in the tweet.
“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!”
He later denied those remarks were racist.
Breakfast Media White House correspondent Anthony Feinberg asked Conway on Tuesday what countries the president was suggesting the congresswomen go back to, given they are American citizens and three of the four were in fact born in the United States.
“If the president was not telling these four congresswomen to return to their supposed countries of origin, to which countries was he referring?”
“What’s your ethnicity?” Conway asked in response.
“Why is that relevant?” Feinberg said back.
WATCH: Kellyanne Conway reacts to Trump comments
“Because I’m asking a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy,” Conway responded.
Feinberg told her that “My own ethnicity is not relevant to the question I’m asking you,” but Conway insisted it was.
“No, no. It is.. Because you’re asking about — he said ‘originally.’ He said ‘originally from.’ And you know everything he has said since and to have a full conversation.”
“Are you saying the president was telling the Palestinian American to go back to the occupied territories?” Feinberg pushed back.
“He is tired, a lot of us are sick and tired of America coming last,” Conway said of the president in response. “To people who swore an oath of office. Sick and tired of our military being denigrated. Sick and tired of the Customs and Border Protection people I was with — who are overwhelmingly Hispanic, by the way, in McAllen, Texas.”
WATCH BELOW: McConnell says Trump is ‘not a racist’, says everyone must tone down rhetoric
The Republicans have been doubling down in defence of the president in recent days, with the party leadership refusing to condemn the tweets and denying there is anything racist about them.
Steve Scalise, a prominent Republican congressman, suggested the remarks were warranted.
“They continue to call for impeachment and [Democratic congresswoman Ayanna] Pressley would not even refer to the president by the title,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
WATCH BELOW: Schumer says people who side with Trump after ‘bigoted’ comments have made ‘a deal with the devil’
“We disagreed with Barack Obama on a lot of things that he did, the policies … But we never disrespected the office. I called him president of the United States, as we all did. If he asked us to go meet with him at the White House, we went. We expressed our disagreements in a respectful way, but what they continue to do is go after [Trump] personally, to call for impeachment of the president from day one.”
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.