President Donald Trump has spent the better part of the past week defending and justifying words he tweeted out on Sunday, in which he suggested four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to their countries of origin instead of criticizing aspects of American society or his administration (even though three of the four lawmakers were in fact born in the United States).
Trump has denied that the comments were racist. On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to condemn the tweets and statements he had made, including decrying them as bigoted, the New York Times reported.
On Wednesday, at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump continued to attack the four congresswomen, believed to be Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib.
At this rally, however, the crowd got into the action as well, chanting at several points during his speech, “send her back.”
The chants were derided on social media immediately after and since, with some suggesting that the moment reminded them of fascist rallies from the mid-20th century.
On Thursday, amid this criticism, Trump responded to reporters by saying he did not say anything similar to what the audience members were chanting, and that the moments they did chant “send her back” made him uncomfortable.
“I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn’t say that. They did. But I disagree with it,” Trump said.
Asked whether he’d try to stop such chants in the future, Trump said he did try to stop it on Thursday night, arguing he “started speaking very quickly” in order to do so.
Video evidence from Wednesday’s rally suggests otherwise, however, as the tweet below shows visuals of the chant lasting close to eight seconds, with Trump not speaking or attempting to stop it. The chant dies out on its own, too, contradicting Trump’s claims that he spoke over the crowd to stop the chant.
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) July 18, 2019
While speaking with reporters on Thursday, Trump added that “it was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it.”