During a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday, Donald Trump continued his racist vilification of four Democratic congresswomen, rousing up his supporters with nativist rhetoric and framing their political ideologies as “militant" and "radical." However, when he assailed Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, his base responded with a chilling chant: "Send her back."
“These left-wing ideologues see our nation as a force for evil,” he told the crowd. “They don’t love our country. I think, in some cases, they hate our country. You know what? If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it.” Upon the mere mention of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley's names, his supporters responded with loud "boos."
As noted by The Charlotte Observer, it could have happened at any one of Trump's rallies, but it happened in Greenville, "and it was one of North Carolina's darker moments." Although people across the country have responded to the president's suggestion that four American congresswomen go back to the countries they came from with revulsion, Trump's base continued to laud him for his vile attacks.
Rep. Ilhan Omar responded to the chant by quoting Maya Angelou on Twitter Wednesday. "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," she wrote. In another tweet, she added, "I am where I belong, at the people's house and you're just gonna have to deal!"
In response to the racist, xenophobic rhetoric, Republicans largely defended the president, many of whom went as far to reject the notion that Trump is a racist. “Is the President a racist or not, I don’t think he is,” Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) said Thursday. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), a member of the House Republican leadership, said he "struggled" with the anti-Omar chants, but contended that she was "anti-American."
Democrats and Americans whose consciences were rightfully shocked, expressed grave concern over Ilhan Omar's safety and rejected the hateful campaign Trump is weaponizing against "The Squad." Jon Favreau, the host of "Pod Save America," called it "one of the most chilling and horrifying things I've ever seen in politics." You can find more of the reactions below.