Trump says he wasn't happy with his crowd chanting, 'Send her back!'
President Trump may already be having second thoughts about his supporters’ latest chant.
During Trump’s Wednesday night campaign rally in Greenville, N.C., his audience responded to the president’s latest attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., with a new three-syllable taunt: “Send her back!”
But after a morning of criticism over the chant from Republicans and Democrats alike, Trump told reporters that he did not approve of it — even though it was a slight tweaking of words lifted from one of his own tweets.
“I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,” Trump told reporters Thursday when asked about the phrase his crowd had employed.
Trump told reporters that he attempted to stop the chant in its tracks at the rally. "I think I did —I started speaking very quickly." Video of the event shows otherwise, however.
Like “Lock her up!,” the chant Trump’s supporters broke into throughout the 2016 presidential campaign at the mere mention of Hillary Clinton’s name, the new invective caused hand-wringing in Washington, and not just from Democrats.
Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., who broke with the GOP earlier this month after reading special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, warned that the chant was “dangerous.”
The genesis of the new chant started on Sunday, when Trump fired off a tweet attacking four Democratic congresswomen — Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — telling them to “go back” to their “broken and crime infested” countries. All four are American citizens, and all but Omar, who fled Somalia as a child, were born in the U.S.
Trump’s attack led the House to pass a resolution condemning his words as “racist,” setting the stage for Wednesday’s campaign rally.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, a Republican who has embarked on a long-shot bid to replace Trump on the GOP’s presidential ticket for 2020, challenged members of his party to speak out against the chant.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said hearing the crowd “would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers.”
Even some of the president’s staunchest supporters cautioned that the chant had crossed a line. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who also defended Trump, told reporters Thursday that the words “have no place in our party and no place in this country.”
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who heads the House Republican Party’s campaign wing, echoed McCarthy. "There's no place for that kind of talk,” he told reporters. “I don't agree with it."
Democrats, meanwhile, continued to express outrage over the president’s attacks on their colleagues.
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