Everything to Know About Donald Trump, Ilhan Omar, and the "Send Her Back" Chant
In just the last 24 hours, there's been a flurry of news having to do with President Donald Trump, Representative Ilhan Omar, and the words "send her back."
At a rally held by the president on Wednesday night in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump renewed his attacks on four progressive congresswomen, including Omar, while the crown chanted "Send her back!" about Omar.
Here's what you need to know about the rally, Omar's response, and Trump's history of attacks on the four Democratic representatives known as the "Squad."
How the Chants Started:
According to CNN, Trump spent part of his 90-minute 2020 campaign rally attacking Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who he referred to as "Cortez," because "I don't have time to go with three different names."
“These congresswomen are helping the rise of a militant, hard left. They never have anything good to say, which is why I say, ‘If they don’t like it, let them leave.’” Trump said. “They don’t love our country, and in some cases I think they hate our country.”
The crowd, according to the Washington Post, responded by chanting “Leave!”
Trump then began speaking of Omar, who was born in Somalia but came to the US as a refugee in 2000 and became an American citizen when she was 17 — at which point, rallygoers began chanting "Send her back!"
How Ilhan Omar Responded:
Omar retweeted a tweet about the rally on Wednesday night, quoting poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
She also tweeted, "I am where I belong, at the people’s house and you’re just gonna have to deal!"
How Trump Responded:
“I was not happy with it — I disagree with it,” he told reporters of the rally response. When asked why didn’t he stop the “send her back” chant, he said, “I think I did. I started speaking very quickly.”
However, in a video from the event, Trump can be seen letting go of the lectern once the chant starts, looking to his left, back to his right, back to his left, pausing for 13 seconds, and continuing after the chant had died down.
On Friday morning, he doubled down on his attacks on Omar in a series of tweets, calling her "Foul Mouther Omar" and hit back at how "crazed" the media became over the chants.
Trump's History with the "Squad":
It's not the first time Trump has attacked the four Democratic congresswomen known as the "Squad." Last weekend, he called out the women — all of whom are women of color — in a series of tweets, writing, "Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."
Three of the women were born in the U.S. — Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City, Tlaib was born in Detroit, and Pressley was born in Cincinnati, raised in Chicago, and now lives in and represents Boston. Omar is the first Somali-American member of Congress, and she and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women ever elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and Pressley is the first Black woman to represent Massachusetts.
While Trump did not refer to them by name, the freshman congresswomen have been known for taking on the Washington establishment since they took office earlier this year.
Following his tweets, the representatives held a press conference addressing Trump's comments.
"I want to tell children across this country that no matter what the President says, this country belongs to you," said Ocasio-Cortez. "And it belongs to everyone and today that notion, that very notion was challenged."
"Our squad is big," Pressley said. "Our squad includes any person committed to building a more equitable and just world, and that is the work that we want to get back to and given the size of this squad and this great nation, we cannot, we will not be silenced."
How the Public Has Responded:
Many people, including lawmakers and 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, began tweeting their support for Omar with the hashtag #IStandWithIlhan. Senator Kamala Harris called the attacks "vile," "cowardly," "xenophobic," and "racist," while Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted that Trump's "throughline is contempt for women and anyone who threatens this president's fragile ego."
Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren also tweeted their support for Omar. According to CBS News, the racist chants were privately disavowed by Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence.
On Thursday night, Omar touched down in Minnesota and was received with chants of "welcome home Ilhan" at the airport.
UPDATED: This story has been updated from a previous version on 7/19/2019.