“If you are not happy, if you are complaining all the time, you can leave,” he told a heated news conference outside the White House. On Sunday Mr Trump called on the women, who are from ethnically diverse backgrounds, to “go back”. He was widely accused of racism and xenophobia, which he denied.

“These are people that in my opinion hate our country. As far as I’m concerned if you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave.”

Mr Trump sparked a furore in a series of tweets on Sunday in which he said the women “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe”. Three of the women were born in the US and one came to the US as a child refugee. Despite criticism, President Trump launched another Twitter tirade on Monday morning, calling on the women themselves to apologise.