A day after President Donald Trump led supporters into chanting “send her back”, for the Somalia-born Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar, at a re-election rally in North Carolina, he has claimed he actually did not approve of it and tried to stop it.

Donald Trump had waited noticeably — 13 seconds — for the chanting to end, without doing anything to stop it. He did not immediately admonish his supporters or for hours after. Trump waited for the chants to subside before resuming his speech

He is now understood to be trying to make amends faced with growing unease among Republicans about his feud with the four Democratic women lawmakers of color and the racist tone that he has adopted and has continued to pursue.

“I was not happy with it,” Trump said to reporters Thursday. “I disagreed with it.” Asked why he did not stop them, the president said that he had tried by resuming his speech “very quickly”. The president also insisted he did not prompt the chanting, or say those words.

But he had clearly set if up in the tweet he posted last Sunday attacking Ilhan Omar and three other Democratic lawmakers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley, saying they hate the US and they should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime-infested” countries they came from.

Only one of them, Omar, was born outside the United States. The crowd had started chanting “send her back” as Trump had attacked the congresswoman recounting her critical observations on various issues, and had continued speaking as the chant grew louder and had paused to let it continue. The US President may be backing down now because of a growing pushback from within the Republican party, both publicly and privately.

“I deeply disagree with the extreme left & have been disgusted by their tone. I woke up today equally disgusted – chants like ‘send her back’ are ugly, wrong, & would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers. This ugliness must end, or we risk our great union,” Representative Adam Kinzinger wrote in a tweet. More than three dozen congressional Republicans had criticized the racist tweet that started it all.

First Published:
Jul 19, 2019 21:04 IST

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