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story.lead_photo.caption This July 8, 2019, file photo shows President Donald Trump speaking during an event about the environment in the East Room of the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

WASHINGTON -- As President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on four minority-group congresswomen, four members of the Arkansas delegation called for greater civility.

The state's six-member congressional delegation is Republican, white and male.

Trump tweeted Sunday that the Democratic lawmakers should "go back" to where they came from, then he defended the statement, telling reporters Monday: "These are people that hate our country."

He amplified that message later in the day, tweeting that America "will never be a Socialist or Communist country," adding: "IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE! It is your choice, and your choice alone."

U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock portrayed the presidential attacks as unhelpful.

"Like many Americans, I'm tired of the war of outrageous and ill-informed comments -- from our president and other elected officials," Hill said in a written statement. "This country needs less social media back-and-forth and more civil debate on policies that contribute to a stronger, more united nation."

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers encouraged the White House and certain House Democrats to change course.

"The President's remarks are not defensible. Nor are the anti-American, anti-Semitic and extreme policies espoused by the socialist wing of the Democrat majority," he tweeted. "Let's change the tone and focus on real issues."

U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs criticized Democrats for their ideas and the president for his ad hominem attacks.

"The new socialist Democrats advocate ideas that will bankrupt American families, slow productivity and weaken our military; however, the president's tweets weren't about policy, and were unnecessarily demeaning. Governing well requires debating policies, not personalities," Westerman said in a written statement.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, also of Rogers, urged Americans to come together.

"What our nation needs right now is for leaders to come together over the one thing that should unite all of us -- the common recognition that America is the best, most prosperous and free country in the world -- and work to make it even better," he said in a written statement. "I have always found that disagreeing without being disagreeable provides the most opportunity to get things done. While we can vary on what policies we support, singling out people whose opinions differ from our own is bad for discourse and public civility."

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray said Trump is espousing "elementary racism."

"It's beneath the office of the president, it's beneath the character of anyone in a leadership position. It should, frankly, be beneath the character of any of us that are humans," he said.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton of Dardanelle said he had no comment on the tweets. A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford said the lawmaker had not yet issued a statement.

A Section on 07/16/2019

Print Headline: 4 lawmakers from state weigh in on Trump's remarks

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