Following an onslaught of outrage, President Donald Trump on Thursday disavowed the “send her back” chant that broke out the previous night among supporters at his North Carolina rally after he launched a vicious attack on progressive Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar — and Twitter was not buying it.
Trump dedicated a portion of his Wednesday night campaign rally speech in Greenville, North Carolina, to attacking Omar — who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia — days after he told her, and three other progressive lawmakers of color to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” During his rebuke, the crowd loudly chanted “Send her back!”
While the president did nothing at the event to halt the chant or reprove those involved, he claimed the next day that he did not approve of what had been said by his supporters.
“I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,” the president said in the White House on Thursday, referring to the chants. “I didn’t say that; they did.”
“I started speaking very quickly,” he told reporters, claiming to have attempted to shut down the chant, despite videos of the event proving he stopped his speech for 13 seconds as the crowd repeatedly shouted the words.
Trump’s comments came after Democrats widely condemned him for sparking the incident with his racist rhetoric, while even some Republicans, who have stayed largely silent over the president’s comments against members of the so-called “Squad” last weekend, expressed concern, including his daughter Ivanka Trump.
Social media users on Twitter called out the president for claiming to disavow the previous night’s chant.
“Lie,” George Conway, husband to top White House aide Kellyanne Conway and a frequent critic of the president, tweeted succinctly.
“Trump said he disavows ‘send her back’ chant last night about Rep. Ilhan Omar. ‘I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,’ he said. He was the first person to suggest she ‘go back’ in a Sunday tweet,” Washington Post White House reporter Josh Dawsey noted.
“Of course Trump was happy with it,” Bill Kristol, conservative commentator and director of Defending Democracy Together, tweeted. “He failed to reprimand the crowd. He said nothing after or this morning. Now there’s a reaction against it, so he’s trying to throw his supporters under the bus and distance himself (a bit). This too is part of the tool kit of the demagogue.”
“Trump claims he disavows ‘send her back’ chant despite remaining silent and starting racist attacks. The damage is done, Mr. Trump. Can you b honest, one time? You did nothing to stop this crowd – instead, you smiled & reveled in the pathetic spotlight,” Twitter user Cindy Harris wrote.
“Lying liar who lies disavows…,” Twitter user Claude Taylor tweeted.
“President Trump completely approved of the ‘send her back’ chants by enjoying them and letting them wash over the arena and continue unabated,” author Grant Stern tweeted.
“President Trump says he disavows the “send her back” chant last night regarding Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. But last night, Trump paused his speech to let the crowd chant that,” wrote the Twitter account for MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, alongside a clip of the incident.
“#RacistTrump Throws His Own Supporters Under The Bus As He Disavows Send Her Back Chant He Created,” Twitter user @JSavoly wrote.