With GOP lawmakers in Congress publicly expressing their concerns about a campaign rally chant aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), President Donald Trump on Thursday made clear he did not endorse the "Send her back" call, as Democratic leaders expressed fears for Omar's security.
"I wasn't happy with that message that they gave last night," the President told reporters at the White House.
Asked several times by reporters why he didn't stop the chant, Mr. Trump said it was a 'packed arena,' very specifically saying he did not endorse the message against Omar.
"I was not happy with it," the President added. "I didn't like that they did it."
President Trump on "send her back" chant: "I was not happy with it. I disagree with it." pic.twitter.com/qEplHgf2vM— CSPAN (@cspan) July 18, 2019
Here was the moment the chant started during his rally, in response to his criticism of four minority women Democratic House members, including Omar:
On Capitol Hill, a number of Republicans expressed their concern about the message from the Trump crowd.
"No American should ever talk to another American that way," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).
"That's a very inappropriate sentiment in this country," Cole told reporters just off the House floor.
.@SenatorRomney tells @burgessev and me of the “Send her back” chants — “the chants were offensive and very unfortunate. It did not speak well of that crowd.” Stressed Trump has a “special responsibility to unite Americans.”— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) July 18, 2019
NRCC Chair Tom Emmer, R-Minn., says of “send her back” chant at Trump rally: “There’s no place for that kind of talk. I don’t agree with that.” Tells us @csmonitor breakfast there’s not a racist bone in Trump’s body; “What he was trying to say, he said wrong.”— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) July 18, 2019
Though it was brief, I struggled with the “send her back” chant tonight referencing Rep. Omar. Her history, words & actions reveal her great disdain for both America & Israel. That should be our focus and not phrasing that’s painful to our friends in the minority communities.— Rep. Mark Walker (@RepMarkWalker) July 18, 2019
“The tweet was wrong & the chant last night grotesque,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Twitter.
“What I’m hearing from Capitol Police is that threats are up across the board for all members,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC), who expressed his concern about the ‘send her back’ chant just a few hours after the rally had ended.
As for Omar, she met on Thursday morning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as reporters pressed her to respond to the chant.
“We have said this President is racist,” Omar said as she walked from the Capitol back to her House office.
VIDEO: Rep. @IlhanMN Omar, once scrum paused at a traffic light, responded to @mkraju’s question about whether the president’s words were racist. (Paraphrasing him, couldn’t hear perfectly.) pic.twitter.com/1nI3HOBnYs— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) July 18, 2019
Democrats said they were concerned about Omar’s safety and possible threats against her.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the head of the House Democratic Caucus, encouraged lawmakers and the Capitol Police to quickly share any information about threats to police back in their home districts.
“We got to make sure every single person, Democrat, Republican, progressive, conservative, the left and the right, get through it together,” Jeffries said.