WASHINGTON – "Send her back" chants erupted at President Donald Trump's rally Wednesday, as he slammed Rep. Ilhan Omar as part of an escalating feud between the president and four Democratic congresswomen of color.
Trump early in his rally in Greenville, North Carolina, blasted the members of "The Sqaud" — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, and Omar, D-Minn.
When the president brought up Omar, the crowed booed at the mention of her name.
The president rattled off past statements Omar had made, including comments Omar made about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks earlier this year during a speech to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She 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."
Omar was giving a speech where she was speaking about how Muslims have been treated as "second-class citizens," and how she believes the treatment of Muslims has gotten worse under Trump.
Since then, Omar has been criticized for minimizing the terrorist attack.
"Obviously, and importantly, Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds," Trump asserted, as "send her back" chants began to slowly grow louder in the crowd.
"Send her back, send her back!" the crowd continued to chant for several seconds after Trump finished his rift.
Omar responded to a tweet from former Barack Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau, who criticized the moment as "one of the most chilling and horrifying things I've ever seen in politics."
In a retweet, Omar quoted poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
"You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. -Maya Angelou," Omar wrote in a tweet, quoting the opening of one of Angelou's poems.
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
Trump since Sunday has blasted the members of The Squad, calling on them to "go back" to their countries. All four lawmakers are American, and three were born in the United States.
Omar immigrated to the U.S. from Somalia and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
In addition, Omar and Tlaib are the only Muslim women in the House of Representatives.
The president has repeatedly doubled down on his remarks and has said his comments are not racist. The House on Tuesday voted to condemn Trump's tweets as racist, with a 240-187 vote. The Squad also denounced Trump's tweet in a press conference Monday, labeling them "racist," "xenophobic," and "bigoted."
Trump during his rally on Wednesday also called out Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, and Pressley by name.
"If they don’t like it, let them leave," Trump said of the four progressive lawmakers. "I think in some cases they hate our country."
Several Democrats have come to Omar's defense.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said he believes Trump is "trying to divide us by race and gender."
"It’s immoral. Our children are listening," Biden tweeted. "Donald Trump thinks that our nation's great diversity makes us weak — because he has no idea what makes us great."
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is also a top-tier contender for the Democratic nomination, said that Trump's comments are "vile," "cowardly," "xenophobic" and "racist.
"It defiles the office of the President," Harris wrote in a tweet.
In addition, some Republicans are also criticizing the chanting.
Tim Miller, former communications director for Jeb Bush's 2016 presidential campaign a longtime Trump critic, said "this hatred has got to be stopped."
"I’d say to my friends in DC going along with Trump. Imagine how this video of the President leading a white mob in a 'Send Her Back' chant targeting a black refugee is going to look in your kids high school government/history classes," he tweeted. "This hatred has got to be stopped."
Contributing: John Fritze
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Send her back' chants erupt as Donald Trump criticizes Ilhan Omar