Nobody understands the attention economy better than President Donald Trump. Whenever he slips from his coveted position as Topic A in the news, or whenever the news angle of the latest reports displeases him, you can count on Trump to bludgeon his way back to control the media agenda. This time it was with a series of tweets hammering four Congresswomen of color as un-American, and telling them to go back where they came from.

Even in his desperate campaigns for attention, Trump used to draw a line, or at least show signs of observing a limit. That line was when he was accused of racism.

The last time Trump was widely reproached as a racist was in August 2017, following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. As the Washington Post’s Ashley Parker recently wrote, Trump kept amending his response to the riot. In his first take, he cited an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” When this was ripped for creating false equivalency, Trump tried again, unequivocally and explicitly damning racism, the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists in a formal presser.