Trump’s harsh words on ‘squad’ reinforce dark posts online

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long before President Donald Trump turned up the heat on four Democratic congresswomen of color and said they should “go back” to their home countries even though they’re U.S. citizens, hateful rhetoric and disinformation about the legislators was lurking online.

Racist, inflammatory and inaccurate content has been circulating on far right blogs, news sites and social media accounts about Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and her colleagues in the self-described “squad” since they ran for public office.

Omar has been the biggest target by far.

Trump has elevated that rhetoric with his tweets and harsh comments. That plays into a conspiratorial feedback loop that has reared its head repeatedly during Trump’s campaign and presidency.

Omar says “the agenda of white nationalists” has “reached the White House garden.”

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