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Trump praises supporters who chanted ‘send her back’ as ‘patriots’



President Donald Trump on Friday said the supporters at his North Carolina rally on Wednesday — where “send her back” was chanted in reference to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar — are “incredible patriots.”

“Those people in North Carolina … that stadium was packed, it was a record crowd. And I could have filled it ten times, as you know,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots.”

This came just one day after the president disavowed the chant and said he wasn’t “happy” about it. The president on Thursday also falsely claimed he attempted to stop the chant, though video shows him pausing for 13 seconds and allowing it to continue before speaking again.

After being asked by a reporter about his professed unhappiness with the chants, Trump said, “You know what I’m unhappy with? I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman, in this case a different congresswoman, can call our country and our people ‘garbage.’ That’s what I’m unhappy with.”

The president then referred to his supporters at the North Carolina as “incredible patriots.”

Trump in his Friday remarks was seemingly referencing comments from Omar earlier this year regarding the nature of US support for the Israeli government, which led to allegations of anti-Semitism. The Minnesota lawmaker apologized for her statements and said she did not intend to offend the Jewish community.

It’s not entirely clear whom or what Trump was referencing in terms of his reference to “garbage,” though Omar on Monday did use the word in reference to the president’s rhetoric as she and other progressive lawmakers rebuked Trump for racist tweets he sent about them on Sunday.

Read more: Trump supporters chant ‘send her back’ as the president attacks Ilhan Omar at rally in North Carolina

“We can either continue to enable this president and report on the bile of garbage that comes out of his mouth. Or we can hold him accountable for his crimes,” Omar said at a press conference on Monday while flanked by the other lawmakers Trump targeted in his racist tweets: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. The group made an impassioned call for beginning impeachment proceedings against Trump.

As Omar returned to her district in Minneapolis on Thursday evening — receiving a warm welcome in the process — the lawmaker said she would “continue to be a nightmare to this president.”

Trump on Friday said he was not happy with Omar’s “nightmare” comment, adding, “She’s lucky to be where she is. Let me tell you. And the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country. Thank you very much.”

The “send her back” chants at Trump’s rally in North Carolina on Wednesday echoed his racist tweets, which suggested the four progressive lawmakers should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested” countries from which they came. Three out of four of the lawmakers were born in the US and all are US citizens.

Omar was born in Somalia but fled her native country as a child due to a bloody civil war. She came to the US when she was 12 and became a US citizen by the age of 17.

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