A former speechwriter for former President Barack Obama called the “send her back” chant directed at U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) during President Donald Trump’s rally in North Carolina on Wednesday “one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.”
Jon Favreau added in his tweet that the chant came after Trump “viciously and dishonestly attacked” Omar.
Here’s the clip:
“SEND HER BACK” Crowd At President Trump Rally Goes After Democrats
What did Trump say about Omar?
Prior to the “send her back” chant, Trump issued a list of accusations against Omar.
He said she “blamed the United States for the terrorist attacks on our country” and that “terrorism is a reaction to our involvement in other people’s affairs.” (Omar said during a 2013 Minnesota interview about the deadly al-Shabab attack on a Kenyan shopping mall that others’ actions have “contributed to the rise of radicalization and the rise of terrorist acts” and “nobody wants to take accountability of how these are byproducts of the actions of our involvement in other people’s affairs.”)
BelAhdan with Somali activist Ilhan Omar … Somali community reaction to Westgate bombing
The president also said Omar “smeared U.S. service members involved in Black Hawk Down” who “were trying to keep peace in Somalia” — where Omar was born. (Fox News said a 2017 tweet from Omar claimed U.S. forces killed “thousands” of Somalis during the 1993 mission even though numerous analysts said the number was much smaller. Omar at the time was responding to a tweet saying over a dozen U.S. soldiers were killed and another 73 were wounded in the Battle of Mogadishu, the cable network said.)
Trump said Omar “minimized” the 9/11 attacks, saying that “some people did something.” (At a March fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Omar said, “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”)
Rep. Omar About 9/11: ‘Some People Did Something’
Trump also said the Democratic congresswoman “pleaded for compassion for ISIS recruits attempting to join the terrorist organization.” (Omar wrote to a judge, saying that “incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence. Society will have no expectations of the to be 50 or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion. Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment.”)
Trump said Omar “laughed” that “Americans speak of Al-Qaeda in a menacing tone” and said Americans “don’t say America with this intensity.” He also said, “You say Al-Qaeda makes you proud.” (In the same 2013 interview noted above regarding the deadly al-Shabab terrorist attack, Omar at the 16:23 mark referred to a college class about terrorism and said — smiling and laughing throughout — that “every time the professor said, ‘Al-Qaeda,’ he sort of, like, his shoulders went up ... You know, ‘Hezbollah’ … You don’t say ‘America’ with an intensity. You don’t say ‘England’ with an intensity … You don’t say, ‘the Army’ with an intensity. But you say these names because you want that word to carry weight. You want it to leave something with the person that’s hearing that.”)
He also said Omar “refused to answer” at a Monday news conference if she supports Al-Qaeda. (When asked to respond to Trump’s assertion that she supports the terrorist organization, Omar replied, “I will not dignify it with an answer because I know that every single Islamophobe, every single person who is hateful, who is driven by an ideology of ‘othering’ as this president is, rejoices in us responding to that and us defending ourselves.”)
Trump said Omar blamed the U.S. for the crisis in Venezuela. (She said “a lot of the policies that we have put in place has kinda helped lead the devastation in Venezuela.”)
He noted that she “looks down with contempt on the hard-working Americans” and that she said “ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country.” (Omar in an interview spoke of Minnesota Republicans she said spread misinformation to their constituents and then noted that “ignorance really is pervasive in many parts of this country.”)
Finally, Trump said Omar has a “history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds.” (Omar repeatedly has been called out for her anti-Semitism.)
How did Omar respond to Trump and the chant?
In the wake of Trump’s comments and the rally chant, Omar tweeted a quote from poet Maya Angelou:
Later Omar tweeted, “I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!”
As it happens Trump on Thursday distanced himself from supporters who chanted “send her back” at the rally, noting that he “felt a little bit badly about it I was not happy with it. I disagree with it.”
This story has been updated.