WASHINGTON – Several Republican lawmakers distanced themselves Thursday from chants of “send her back” that erupted at a North Carolina rally when President Donald Trump attacked a black Democratic lawmaker.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., posted on Twitter that he woke up "disgusted" by the chant, which he described as “ugly.”
Trump singled out Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. at the rally as he lit into progressive Democrats known as “the Squad,” He suggested the lawmakers were un-American and unpatriotic. The Squad includes Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York., Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All four are women of color and outspoken progressives.
“I deeply disagree with the extreme left & have been disgusted by their tone,” Kinzinger tweeted. “ 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.”
Some Republicans limited their criticism to the crowd at Trump's rally – not the president himself.
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee, criticized the chant, telling reporters "there's no place for that kind of that kind of talk."
But Emmer, who spoke at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, defended Trump amid an outcry over the president's comments Sunday in which he suggested all four members of the Squad should "go back" to their countries. All four are U.S. citizens.
"There's not a racist bone in this president's body," Emmer said. "What he was trying to say he said wrong. What he was trying to say is that if you don't appreciate this country you don't have to be here."
Four House Republicans sided with Democrats in a formal vote Tuesday to condemn the tweets as racist.
But the chant has stirred more criticism.
Republicans who have long criticized Trump did so again, including former GOP primary rival Jeb Bush.
“Her views are awful,” Bush wrote on Twitter. “She is an American citizen. She has the right to express her awful views.”
Her views are awful. She is an American citizen. She has the right to express her awful views. https://t.co/mcuzZep6lL— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) July 18, 2019
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.— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) July 18, 2019