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Trump's tweets prompt celebrities to share the times they've been told "go back to your country"

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After President Trump said on Twitter Sunday that "'Progressive' Democratic Congresswomen" should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came," it set off a firestorm of reaction on social media. In response to the president's racist tweets, several celebrities of color said they can relate to being told to "go back to your country."

"'Go back to your country' is a taunt immigrant kids hear on the playground, it's a threat I get from unhinged people in my DMs, and it's also something the President of the United States says to strong women of color who oppose him," "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi, who was born in India, tweeted.

Actor Kumail Nanjiani also shared his experience. "I've heard 'Go back to your country' many many times. Most recently was about a month and a half ago in LA. It hurts my feelings every time," he tweeted.

Nanjiani, a Pakistani-American comedian, often speaks about growing up as an American immigrant during his standup routines.

Actor and activist George Takei also tweeted about how he responds to racist remarks. "One things many minorities hear more than a few times in their lives is, 'Go back to where you came from.' I always responded, 'What, Los Angeles?'" 

Takei and his family were sent to an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II. The "Star Trek" actor recently defended the use of the term "concentration camps" to describe present-day migrant detention centers at the U.S. border, saying, "I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America."

Other Twitter users also shared their stories of encountering racism and anti-immigrant bias.

Prominent Supreme Court lawyer Neal Katyal, who served in the Obama administration, said he's heard "go back to your country" since he was 3 years old. "Still get it to this day(almost every day). I'm here!" Katyal, who is Indian-American tweeted.

Political activist Linda Sarsour tweeted about hearing this racial slur while with her children. "3 years ago, I was walking w/ my kids in Times Square & a man shouted 'go back to your country you stupid terrorist b*^%h.' My youngest was 12 at the time & was shaken. She said 'but this is your country' & I said 'it absolutely is & it's yours too.' I will never forget that," Sarsour, who is Palestinian–American, tweeted.

Comments like "go back to your country" are what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls "hallmark language of white supremacists." 

President Trump defended his tweets, saying they were not racist and that he doesn't have a racist bone in his body.

"You're right, Mr. President - you don't have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in your head, and a racist heart in your chest," Ocasio-Cortez responded. "That's why you violate the rights of children and tell the Congresswoman who represents your home borough, to 'go back to my country.'"

Ocasio-Cortez is one of the four congresswomen — all women of color — the president alluded to in his tweet. She and her colleagues Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts make up "the Squad" — a nickname the group of progressive Democrats gave themselves. Trump did not specifically name the women in his tweet.

Three of the four were born in the U.S., while Rep. Ilhan Omar immigrated from Somalia as a child and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.

The four women held a press conference Monday to respond to the president's Twitter tirade and his defense of those comments. The group said the president's tweets were part of an effort to pit Americans against each other. 

"He would love nothing more than to divide our country based on race, religion, gender, orientation or immigration status, because this is the only way he knows he can prevent the solidarity of us working together," Rep. Omar said. 

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