Trump Attempts to Disavow “Send Her Back” Chant He Visibly Enjoyed During Rally

Video of the event shows the president is lying.

Alex Brandon/AP

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President Donald Trump on Thursday attempted to distance himself from the “send her back” chants that erupted at a campaign rally the previous night during his tirade about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a naturalized US citizen who as a child fled Somalia’s civil war. Trump now claims he “was not happy” with the bigoted refrain.

“I was not happy with it,” Trump told reporters from the Oval Office. “I disagree with it.”

Asked why he didn’t stop his supporters from continuing with the chant, Trump insisted that he, in fact, did. “Well, number one, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly,” he claimed. “I disagree with it, by the way. It was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it.”

But videos of the rally show Trump nearly basking in the crowd’s chants and listening to it for more than 10 seconds before proceeding with his remarks. Despite video evidence contradicting Trump’s comments from the Oval Office, several news outlets ran with the headline the president clearly desired. 

The president’s sudden effort to disavow the chant comes amid rare but mild condemnation from conservatives, though most have yet to acknowledge that his recent attacks against Omar and other Democratic congresswomen of color are racist.

During the 2016 race, Trump similarly claimed that he didn’t approve of the infamous “lock her up” chants demanding jail time for Hillary Clinton. That chant remains a popular rallying cry at his political rallies.

Trump on Thursday also asserted that there was a difference between the chant and his Sunday tweets telling the congresswomen to “go back” to their “crime-infested countries.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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