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Andy Harris says Trump could’ve meant ‘go back to the district’ in tweets; president says no, he meant leave the country

As Maryland Rep. Andy Harris tried to defend President Donald Trump’s tweets targeting four Democratic congresswomen of color, the Eastern Shore congressman learned the hard way that only the president speaks for the president.

Harris went on WBAL Radio on Monday to defend Trump, who said in a series of tweets Sunday that “progressives” in the Democratic party should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

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The president was clearly speaking about four Democratic congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — who have all denounced the president.

The racist implication of telling four women of color — three of whom were born in the United States — to “go back” to where they came has sent waves throughout the capital, and lawmakers, albeit mostly Democrats, have called the tweets racist and unacceptable.

But Maryland’s Republican representative from the Eastern Shore didn’t see it that way during an interview with WBAL Radio’s Bryan Nehman, saying “Clearly, it’s not a racist comment.”

“He could’ve meant ‘go back to the district they came from’ [or] to ‘the neighborhood they came from,’" Harris said.

Nehman pushed back with a “Do you really believe that?” to which Harris doubled down with an “absolutely.”

“Yeah, they all didn’t come from foreign countries, so you’d have to presume that it was not a country,” he added, laughing.

Later, Trump clarified himself, making clear his intention.

“If you’re not happy in the U.S., if you’re complaining all the time, very simply, you can leave,” Trump said from the White House lawn, only hours after Harris’ comments had aired.

Trump’s comments directly contradicted his Republican colleague’s defense.

Maryland’s 1st District is the only congressional district in the state that voted for Trump in the presidential election in 2016, according to the Cook Political Report, winning 60 percent of the vote compared with 35 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Harris could not be reached for comment Monday.

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