Just days after House Democrats forced through a vote formally condemning President Trump's "racist" tweets targeting the progressive "squad" of freshman Democrats, the media is once again in an uproar over an unprovoked chant at a rally the president held in Greenville, North Carolina.
Trump was in the middle of criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar for her history of anti-semitic remarks and other offensive comments about the 9/11 hijackers and the US forces who participated in the infamous 1993 "Black Hawk Down" mission in Somalia when the crowd burst into a chant of "send her back" - a reference to Trump's Sunday tweet saying the members of the "squad" should "go back" from the "crime infested places from which they came" if they're unhappy with how the country is being run. He also criticized Omar for comparing America to Al Qaeda and advocating on behalf of recruits attempting to join ISIS.
"Representative Omar blamed the United States for the terrorist attacks on our country, saying terrorism is a reaction to our involvement in other peoples' affairs," Trump said. "She smeared U.S. servicemembers involved in 'Black Hawk Down' -- in other words, she slandered the brave Americans who were trying to keep peace in Somalia."
In a tweet that resurfaced a few months back, Omar accused American soldiers of killing "thousands" of Somalis during the "Black Hawk Down" mission.
"Omar minimized the Sept. 11 attacks on our homeland, saying 'some people did something," Trump added. "I don't think so. 'Some people did something?' Yeah, some people did something, alright. She pleaded for compassion for ISIS recruits attempting to join the terrorist organization. She was looking for compassion. Omar laughed that Americans speak of Al Qaeda in a menacing tone, and remarked that, '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.'"
"And obviously and importantly, Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds."
Shouts of "traitor" could also be heard from the audience.
Trump never acknowledged the chant, or any other commentary from the audience about Omar.
Omar responded to reports about the rally by tweeting out a verse from a poem by black American poet Maya Angelou.
You may shoot me with your words,— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B
Others offered more harshly worded responses, with Shaun King calling the incident "one of the single most racist moments in modern American political history."
This is one of the single most racist moments in modern American political history. As Trump began attacking my friend Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the crowd began chanting “SEND HER BACK, SEND HER BACK.” It’s utterly despicable and dangerous. We are here. We are in THAT time. UGLY. pic.twitter.com/6M0PBXe4Lr— Shaun King (@shaunking) July 17, 2019
Director John Favreau denounced Trump's performance as "one of the most chilling and horrifying things I've ever seen in politics."
The crowd at Trump’s rally chanting “send her back” after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 17, 2019
By early Thursday morning, the hashtag #IStandWithIlhan had become the No. 1 trending hashtag. Omar, who was born in Somalia, is the only member of the progressive "squad" who immigrated to the US. She, and her fellow squad member Rashida Tlaib, are the first two Muslim women elected to the US Congress.
Trump took the stage in North Carolina shortly after House Democrats overhwelmingly voted against a resolution to start the impeachment process against the president.
Even Cardi B weighed in....
Even Republican lawmakers are disavowing the chant...with one Congressman who was in the crowd saying he "struggled" with it.
Though it was brief, I struggled with the “send her back” chant tonight referencing Rep. Omar. Her history, words & actions reveal her great disdain for both America & Israel. That should be our focus and not phrasing that’s painful to our friends in the minority communities.— Rep. Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) July 18, 2019
In a series of tweets published after the rally, Trump thanked the crowd, but made no mention of the chant.
Together, we will continue unleashing the power of American enterprise, so every American can know the dignity of work and the pride of a paycheck. With your help, we will elect a Republican Congress to create a safe, modern, fair, and LAWFUL system of immigration! #MAGA2020 pic.twitter.com/zxy6zRLGu1— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2019
The Republican Party is the Party for ALL Americans. We are the Party of the American Worker, the American Family & the American Dream. This is the proud banner the Republican Party will carry into the Republican National Convention next summer in the great city of Charlotte, NC! pic.twitter.com/T39INp0N8N— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2019
Just returned to the White House from the Great State of North Carolina. What a crowd, and what great people. The enthusiasm blows away our rivals on the Radical Left. #2020 will be a big year for the Republican Party!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2019
But judging by the strength of the backlash, this should be enough to keep the debate about Trump's "racist" comments going for another week or so.