White House senior adviser Stephen Miller defended President Trump's racist tweets and past criticisms of the United States on Fox News Sunday, claiming that unlike members of "the squad" of progressive lawmakers that he has attacked, Trump's comments come from a place of love for the country.

MILLER: The president ran a campaign that can be summarized in two words: America first. There's a huge difference between America First and an ideology that runs down America.
CHRIS WALLACE: "You don't think the president ran down America? Lock her up? ... Nobody has any problem with what the president's policies have been, it's when he goes into stoking racial fears. I've never called any of his tweets racist, but there's no question that he is stoking racial divisions."
MILLER: "Chris, the core element of the president's philosophy is 'America First.' Saying that America needs to improve to get closer to an America First ideal, as the president did as a candidate — criticizing Obama, criticizing our trade deals, our foreign policy deals, our immigration policies — is out of love for America. Saying, as Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did, that illegal immigrants are in effect more American than Americans is fundamentally an anti-American statement."

Why it matters: Trump's ongoing battle with "the squad" continued on Sunday, with the president tweeting that he doesn't "believe the four Congresswomen are capable of loving our Country" and that they should apologize. His argument that the lawmakers should "go back" to where they came from after allegedly denigrating the U.S. has prompted accusations of hypocrisy.

Fox News' Chris Wallace claimed that Trump has been "as critical of this country as anything 'the squad' has ever said," and challenged Miller by listing off a series of quotes in which Trump himself has attacked the U.S.:

  • Jan. 18, 2016: "Nobody respects us. They're laughing at us. We don't know what we're doing."
  • July 27, 2016: "I think President Obama has been the most ignorant president in our history."
  • Jan. 20, 2017: "Rusted-out factories, scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation."
  • Feb. 5, 2017: "We've got a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?"

Go deeper: Ocasio-Cortez says Trump's immigration policies are really about racism

Go deeper

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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