Trump Attempts to Disavow “Send Her Back” Chant He Visibly Enjoyed During Rally

Video of the event shows the president is lying.

Alex Brandon/AP

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President Donald Trump on Thursday attempted to distance himself from the “send her back” chants that erupted at a campaign rally the previous night during his tirade about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a naturalized US citizen who as a child fled Somalia’s civil war. Trump now claims he “was not happy” with the bigoted refrain.

“I was not happy with it,” Trump told reporters from the Oval Office. “I disagree with it.”

Asked why he didn’t stop his supporters from continuing with the chant, Trump insisted that he, in fact, did. “Well, number one, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly,” he claimed. “I disagree with it, by the way. It was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it.”

But videos of the rally show Trump nearly basking in the crowd’s chants and listening to it for more than 10 seconds before proceeding with his remarks. Despite video evidence contradicting Trump’s comments from the Oval Office, several news outlets ran with the headline the president clearly desired. 

The president’s sudden effort to disavow the chant comes amid rare but mild condemnation from conservatives, though most have yet to acknowledge that his recent attacks against Omar and other Democratic congresswomen of color are racist.

During the 2016 race, Trump similarly claimed that he didn’t approve of the infamous “lock her up” chants demanding jail time for Hillary Clinton. That chant remains a popular rallying cry at his political rallies.

Trump on Thursday also asserted that there was a difference between the chant and his Sunday tweets telling the congresswomen to “go back” to their “crime-infested countries.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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