The US President Donald Trump has labelled the Democrats as “un-American” and “treasonous” for their lack of applause during his State of the Union address last week.
“They would rather see Trump do badly than our country do well. That’s what it means,” Mr Trump said later.
“Somebody said ‘treasonous’. I mean, eh. I guess, why not? Can we call that treason, why not? I mean they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much.”
Treason is a federal crime punishable by death or imprisonment – not a minor offence.
The White House now says the remarks were only “tongue-in-cheek” and not to be taken seriously, but it’s not the first time they’ve had to backtrack on Trump’s remarks.
Last year, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was being “sarcastic” after he thanked Russian leader Vladimir Putin for cutting the U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia.
If anything, suggesting his critics are guilty of treason makes Trump sound a lot more like Putin.