President Donald Trump’s fervent supporters broke out into racist chants, calling for Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), who immigrated to the United States as a refugee when she was a child, to return to the country of her birth.
At a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday night, Trump renewed last weekend’s attacks on Omar and three of her progressive Democratic colleagues who, he wrote, should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” The comments, which the president made in tweets and defended in an interview at the White House, were condemned by Congress on Tuesday as racist.
As Trump turned to attacking Omar in North Carolina, rally-goers echoed the president’s racist tweet and began chanting, “Send her back!” The president said Omar and her Democratic colleagues “see our nation as a force of evil.” He accused Omar of “launching vicious, anti-Semitic screeds,” referencing widely criticized comments the congresswoman made about “allegiance” to Israel.
Trump’s original tweets did not mention the congresswomen by name, but it was understood that he was targeting Omar, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, all women of color. Three of the Democratic leaders were born in America, while Omar emigrated from Somalia when she was 8 years old and is now a U.S. citizen.
“When people say, ’If you say a negative thing about this country, you hate this country,′ to me, it sort of speaks to the hypocrisy,” Omar said earlier this week at a news conference responding to Trump’s racist attacks. “And so for him to condemn us and to say we are un-American for wanting to work hard to make this country be the country we all deserve to live in, it’s complete hypocrisy.”