Wednesday evening at President Trump’s Greenville, North Carolina rally, some members of the crowd could be heard chanting “Send her back!” about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN). The president had been speaking about the congresswoman when the chant began: President Trump has recently been targeting “the squad,” a group of four liberal legislators that includes Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Ilhan Omar. In a tweet thread last Sunday he suggested that unnamed progressive female legislators should “go back and help fix” their countries of origin before sounding off about how to run America. It seems that the tweets referred to “the squad,” but of the four legislators, only Rep. Omar was born outside of the United States. Legislators and commentators have voiced their disapproval about the chant heard from the audience at the rally last evening. For her part, Rep. Omar said that she belongs in Congress and she’s not leaving:
???? I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal! pic.twitter.com/W0OvDXGxQX— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
You may shoot me with your words,— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said that the president and his party “have legitimized the racist chant”:
.@realDonaldTrump & @GOP enablers have legitimized the racist chant of "send her back" to an American citizen. If @IlhanMN was white they would not use that racist trope.— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 18, 2019
If this horrifies you then vote, donate & organize like never before. The soul of our country is at stake. https://t.co/ZeYVX0HqAJ
Presidential hopefuls New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke also weighed in:
A tweet. Then a chant. And it won’t stop there.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) July 18, 2019
Trump is fueling and feeding off hate. Racism and Islamophobia are stains on humanity and on our country.
We stand with @IlhanMN.
These chants don’t happen by accident. They are the product of a president who sees our diversity not as a strength, but as a weakness. I believe in our country. And I believe, together, not allowing our differences to divide us, we will defeat him and everything he stands for. https://t.co/RKZ6PTQM4g— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 18, 2019
Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer described it as reminiscent of dictatorships: “The way the president appeals to the worst instincts of people, what was shouted and chanted at the rally last night without the president upbraiding them, was despicable, despicable—and eerily familiar to what happens in dictatorships.”
President @realDonaldTrump whipped up a toxic brew of racism, xenophobia, nativism— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 18, 2019
His crowd chanting “send her back” about a member of Congress & US citizen
The way he appeals to the worst instincts of some people was despicable—eerily familiar to what happens in dictatorships pic.twitter.com/928mav7WZl
Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who recently left the Republican party and declared himself an independent, said that the chant “is the inevitable consequence of President Trump’s demagoguery.”
A chant like “Send her back!” is ugly and dangerous, and it is the inevitable consequence of President Trump’s demagoguery. This is how history’s worst episodes begin. We must not allow this man to take us to such a place.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) July 18, 2019
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) condemned both the chant and the far left:
I deeply disagree with the extreme left & have been disgusted by their tone. I woke up today equally disgusted - chants like “send her back” are ugly, wrong, & would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers. This ugliness must end, or we risk our great union.— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 18, 2019
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who himself is Jewish, described the congresswoman as an anti-Semite while also denouncing the chant:
Vile. Omar is awful. She is a radical anti-Semite with terrible views. She is also an American citizen and chanting for her deportation based on her exercise of the First Amendment is disgusting. https://t.co/Y4nzHPzba4— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 18, 2019
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush concurred with Shapiro’s analysis:
Her views are awful. She is an American citizen. She has the right to express her awful views. https://t.co/mcuzZep6lL— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 18, 2019
On Thursday, the president himself weighed in on the chants. In short, he said he was not a fan of the message. "I was not happy with it - I disagree with it," he told a press pool.
JUST IN: Trump tells reporters he disagrees with the "Send Her Back" chant.— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) July 18, 2019
"I was not happy with it - I disagree with it," he said, per pooler @djusatoday.