After a viral video of a massive crowd chanting “Send her back!” referring to Ilhan Omar at a Trump rally last night in North Carolina sparked fierce debate over the nature of the chant, President Trump was asked by reporters earlier today to give his thoughts on the slogan.
And, he’s not happy with it!
The president distanced himself from the chant when he was pressed by reporters on why he did not try to stop the chant. In response, Trump stated, “I disagree with it, by the way. But it was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it. But I will say this: I did, and I started speaking very quickly.”
Here’s the clip of the president’s response to the “send her back” chant:
For reference, here's the original video from the rally last night with full context of what set off the chant (the "send her back" begins at 1:22):
News of the president's disapproval of the chant has been spreading like wildfire on Twitter.
Take a look at how Twitter is reacting here:
NBC News has more details on President Trump's distancing himself from the chant:
President Donald Trump on Thursday attempted to distance himself from a boisterous "Send her back!" chant aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., that occurred at his campaign rally Wednesday night.
"I was not happy with it — I disagree with it," Trump told reporters at the White House of the chant, which appeared to be based off of his widely criticized recent tweets attacking the lawmaker and others, adding, "I didn't say that, they did." He later told reporters that the chanters "love our country."
The chant broke out among rally-goers in North Carolina after the president went on an extended rant about Omar and three of her House colleagues — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass."Omar laughed that Americans speak of al Qaeda in a menacing tone," Trump said of the congresswoman on Wednesday night. "You don’t say America with this intensity. You say al Qaeda makes you proud. Al Qaeda makes you proud. You don’t speak that way about America," he added, referring to her remarks in a 2013 interview. Politifact, an independent fact-checking organization, rated his past characterization of Omar's remarks as "false."At this point, the crowd began shouting, "Send her back!" Trump then took a pause from his speech as the chant went on. He later told the crowd, "I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down. They never have anything good to say. That’s why I say: Hey, if they don’t like it, let them leave, let them leave. Let them leave!"
SF Gate also had the following to say about it:
President Donald Trump distanced himself Thursday from a hostile chant his supporters directed toward a Democratic lawmaker and naturalized U.S. citizen, as Republicans began publicly fretting that how the president was elevating a quartet of liberal House freshmen may instead prompt a political backlash.
The cries of "Send her back!" at a campaign rally on Wednesday that targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who was born in Somalia, triggered a fresh round of hand-wringing and outright furor on Capitol Hill as Trump sought to disavow the chant from his supporters, even though he paused for 13 seconds at the Greenville, North Carolina, event, to let it continue.
Top House Republicans urged Vice President Mike Pence, who often serves as an emissary from GOP lawmakers to Trump, to tell the president that Republicans have to be defined by their vision, not by derogatory chants. A flurry of GOP lawmakers also publicly condemned the chant, even while being careful not to denounce Trump directly.
From the Oval Office, Trump disassociated himself from the chant while claiming that he had tried to stop it by "speaking very quickly."
"I disagree with it, by the way. But it was quite a chant," Trump said during an event Thursday promoting the Special Olympics. "And I felt a little bit badly about it. But I will say this: I did, and I started speaking very quickly."
The recoil on Thursday continued the fallout from a racist tweet Trump sent on Sunday, in which the president said four liberal lawmakers critical of him should "go back" to "the crime infested places from which they came." Three of those Democrats - Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan - were born in the United States. Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000.
Since then, Trump has continued to defend his language, which mirrored the chant of his supporters in North Carolina that he attempted to disavow.
What do you think?
Was Trump right to disavow the "send her back" chant?