President Donald Trump on Monday used a tweet to defend his use of a derogatory term to describe Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The president, who is scheduled to speak at a press conference on the House floor on Wednesday, tweeted: “The Democrats & the Clintons are going at each other, trying to ruin my Presidency.
This is the beginning of the end.”
In his tweet, the president defended his use in March of the term “crooked” in a series of tweets that included a reference to Clinton’s alleged husband, former President Bill Clinton, and a tweet that said, “Crooked Hillary has lost a lot of support.
The Dems are going after her hard.
They want to steal the election!”
In the two tweets, Trump also cited the 2016 presidential election, which he described as a “rigged election.”
In response, House Democratic leaders criticized the president’s use of the word “crook,” saying he had no legal basis to say that it was not a derogatory reference to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or any other candidate.
“It is a blatant misuse of power and undermines our democracy,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) also defended Trump’s use.
“Words like ‘crooked,’ ‘crookish,’ ‘racist,’ ‘sexist,’ and ‘unpresidential’ are not words that we use in polite company,” Ryan said.
“And they don’t belong in the White House.”
The president’s tweet comes after a White House official said earlier this week that Trump’s tweets were not “appropriate.”
“The president did not intend to imply any political affiliation or affiliation to those who shared his offensive remarks,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in response to a question about Trump’s tweet.
“He never intended to use that term in a derogatory way, and I think it was a mistake for him to do so.”
In a statement, Sanders said the president is “reminding all Americans that we are in a moment of great political upheaval and the first thing we should do is unite in our resolve to defeat the President and his corrupt agenda.”
Trump’s remarks come amid reports that the FBI is investigating whether his campaign colluded with Russian government officials in an effort to influence the 2016 election.
The House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the election, released a report in October detailing the allegations.
The report said the Trump campaign had communicated with Russian officials during the campaign about how to attack Clinton.
Democrats and some Republicans have criticized the report, with some calling it politically motivated.