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Democrats decry 'send her back' chant, Republicans downplay

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 03:17s - Published
Democrats decry 'send her back' chant, Republicans downplay

Democrats decry 'send her back' chant, Republicans downplay

President Donald Trump tried to distance himself on Thursday from supporters’ chants of “send her back” at a rally, an incendiary mantra some worry could set the tone for the 2020 campaign.

Chris Dignam has more.

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(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Omar has a history of launching vicious, anti-semitic screeds." (SOUND BITE) (English) TRUMP RALLY CROWD, CHANTING: "SEND HER BACK!

SEND HER BACK!

SEND HER BACK!" The chants of “send her back” by supporters of President Donald Trump, aimed at Somali-born Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar, triggered a new wave of condemnation on Thursday, while Omar said Trump was “spewing fascist ideology.” (SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ILHAN OMAR, SAYING: "When you have a president who clearly thinks someone like me should go back, the message that he's sending is not for me.

It is to every single person who shares an identity with me.

He's telling them that this is not their country.

And what we tell them is that this is." The president has since attempted to distance himself from the chant.

(SOUND BITE) (English) REPORTER, SAYING: "When your supporters last night were chanting "send her back," why didn't you stop them?

Why didn't ask them to stop saying that?" (SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Well, number one, I think I did.

I started speaking very quickly.

It really was a lot...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." But Trump - on stage - appeared to hand the moment to the crowd.

(SOUND BITE) (English) TRUMP RALLY CROWD, CHANTING: "SEND HER BACK!

SEND HER BACK!

SEND HER BACK!" Trump intensified his attacks on Omar at the rally in Greenville, North Carolina Wednesday night, falsely accusing her of supporting the terror group al-Qaeda.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "Al-Qaeda makes you proud!" Trump kicked off the political firestorm earlier this week when he singled out four Democratic minority congresswomen, suggesting they "go back" to the places from which they came.

All but Omar were born in the U.S., and Trump's attack sparked accusations of race-baiting and a House resolution condemning his comments as racist.

But at his Wednesday night rally, Trump seemed to ramp up those attacks.

(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "If the don't love it, tell them to leave it." On Thursday, some Republican lawmakers tried to downplay the president's behavior.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM, SAYING: "I think the president is playing on the 1968 'Love it or Leave It.'

I've said before that if you're a Somali refugee wearing a MAGA hat, he doesn't want to send you back.

You'd probably have dinner at the White House." (SOUND BITE) (English) REPORTER OFF CAMERA, SAYING: "The president just stood there.

He didn't intervene..." (SOUND BITE) (English) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY, SAYING: "The president moved on with his speech..." But Democratic presidential candidates harshly criticized Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, in a tweet, called Trump's attack on the four congresswoman an "ugly, racist refrain." California Senator Kamala Harris said "It's vile.

It’s cowardly.

It’s xenophobic.

It’s racist.

It defiles the office of the President..." Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said, "Trump is stoking the most despicable and disturbing currents in our society... We must fight together to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of our country." New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - a target of the president’s ire – said Thursday he was playing with fire.

(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, SAYING: "I think the president put millions of Americans in danger last night... I think he has a responsibility for that environment."





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