(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY, SAYING: "The president has absolutely said they should not have chanted "send her back."" Republicans on Sunday struggled to redefine the narrative a week after the President's tweets touched off accusations of race-baiting, and after Donald Trump's supporters launched into a chant that even he tried to disavow.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY, SAYING: "Well, I think you've heard him say that the chant was inappropriate.
We've all said the chant was inappropriate.
[FLASH] I think the news media really wants to make this about race.
You just did it." Representative Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican on Sunday told CBS News that the president's attacks on four Democratic Congresswomen - who are either black, Hispanic or Muslim - were not about race but about those lawmakers' policies.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY, SAYING: "They're advocating for policies that will destroy this nation.
And we will fight against it.
And I think the news media, you included, ought to cover the substance." Trump had tweeted that the four women, three of whom were born in America, should "go back" to the places they came from.
The tweet prompted a Congressional resolution last week condemning his words as racist.
The next day, Trump supporters at a rally chanted "send her back" about Somali-born Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING (Thursday): "I felt a little bit badly about it." Trump later said he did not agree with the "send her back" sentiment.
But he has since leapt to defend the chanters.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING (Friday): "Those are incredible people.
Those are incredible patriots." Democrats assailed the president, the tweets and the chants over the weekend.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, SAYING (SATURDAY): "Once you start telling American citizens to 'go back to your own countries,' this tells you that this president's policies are not about immigration, it's about ethnicity and racism." Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the targets of Trump's vitriol, applauded for decrying the president in their shared hometown of New York on Saturday.
Campaigning in Las Vegas, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden compared Donald Trump to an avowedly segregationist Republican from the 1960s.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CANDIDATE JOE BIDEN, SAYING (SATURDAY): "As I've said before, this guy is a lot more George Wallace than George Washington." By and large, Republicans have defended Trump, claiming the tweets are not about race at all.
But Democrats see him as seizing on race as the 2020 election approaches.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING: "I think, tragically, the president has decided that racism is good politics." On Sunday, Trump continued his attacks on the lawmakers, tweeting that he didn't believe they were "capable of loving our Country," and that they should apologize.