Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said at a New York City town hall Saturday that President Trump's "go back" tweets targeting her and 3 other Democratic congresswomen of color show his hardline immigration policies are really about racism.

Once you start telling American citizens to quote 'go back to your own countries,' this tells you that this president's policies are not about immigration, it's about ethnicity and racism."

Why it matters: Trump's associates told Axios' Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen that race-baiting is central to his 2020 strategy. Per Axios' Sara Fischer, much of Trump's Facebook spending is focused heavily on immigration messaging, as he targets older, white voters and Latino voters.

The big picture: During her town hall, broadcast on The National Desk's Facebook page, Ocasio-Cortez rejected Trump's claim that he tried to quiet a "send her back" chant directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) during a North Carolina campaign rally on Wednesday.

"Roll back the tape. ... He relished it. He took it in and he's doing this intentionally."

Go deeper: A tough time to be a Trump supporter

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