PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S UNSETTLING RALLY
President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in North Carolina last night, in which he accused liberals of seeking the “destruction” of the United States, and renewed his on-going rhetoric regarding four progressive Democratic representatives: New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, Minnesota's Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
"These left-wing ideologues see our nation as a force for evil,” he told the crowd of supporters. 'They don't love our country,” Trump continued. “I think, in some cases, they hate our country. You know what? If they don't love it, tell them to leave it.”
The president then alleged that Congresswoman Omar was sympathetic to Al Qaeda, causing the crowd to chant “send her back!”
When asked Thursday about this chant, the president claimed, "I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn't say that, they did." Trump did not address the crowd’s chants during the rally, but he asserted that he tried to end it by quickly going back to his speech. Speaking from the Oval Office on Thursday, the president said he “felt a little bad” about the chant and that he had attempted to quell it from the stage, though he stayed silent for more than 10 seconds as it grew in volume. "It was quite a chant," he said.
Despite the president’s statement in his original tweet that all four of the targeted congresswomen “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe,” only one member of the group was born abroad. Omar was born in Somalia and moved to the United States with her family when she was 10 years old. She has been a U.S. citizen for more than two decades.
"Last night was deeply upsetting, but not surprising from a president and party that encourages division and hate on a daily basis,” wrote North Carolina Democratic Party chairman Wayne Goodwin in a statement. “This isn't who North Carolina is, and North Carolina Democrats reject this hate and stand with our immigrant and marginalized communities to unequivocally say: You belong here and you are welcome.”
This is the latest in a multi-day fight the president has picked with the four congresswomen. Earlier this week he wrote in a tweet that they should return to the "broken and crime-infested places from which they came."
Nicole Goodkind is a political reporter at Newsweek. You can reach her on Twitter @NicoleGoodkind or by email, N.Goodkind@newsweek.com.