Former Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview Tuesday that President Donald Trump‘s remarks towards four Democratic House freshmen were “shameful” and praised the lawmakers for their responses to the president.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, Biden said that Trump’s tweets were “not only shameful, but it’s incredibly damaging.”

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“We have led the world by the power of our example, and what presidents say, they’re the face of America, like it or not,” he added. “The idea that Trump says and does the things he does is despicable.”

The 2020 presidential contender then went on to commend the four House freshmen targeted by Trump, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan), Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts). He paid special attention to Ocasio-Cortez, saying, “I think the freshmen, particularly AOC, is smart as hell,” Biden said. Ocasio-Cortez, he added, is “really a value added to the party in terms of her pushing the edges.”

Asked what advice he would offer Ocasio-Cortez, Biden responded, “I would not presume to give her advice,” adding, “AOC is brilliant, the other three women are really smart.”

Biden also defended Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who was previously engaged in a spat with the four congresswomen over party unity. “Nancy knows what she’s doing,” Biden said. “Nancy understands that … you know, there’s a sum total in the Congress of 535 folks. You have to get them all moving in the right direction.”

Biden’s comments are part of a larger backlash caused by the president’s tweets on Sunday. Trump wrote this weekend that ‘”Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” His suggestion caused outrage over its xenophobic nature and its implications that people of color are not loyal to the United States. His statement confused many as well, since three of the four representatives he was referring to were born in the United States, and all four of them are American citizens.