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Ilhan Omar blasts President Trump as "fascist" after "send her back" chants at his rally

Crowd chants "send her back" at Trump rally
Crowd chants "send her back" at Trump rally, echoing president's tweets 11:18

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar blasted President Trump as a "fascist" Thursday after racist chants erupted during his campaign rally in North Carolina the previous night. After Mr. Trump called out the Democrat from Minnesota, the crowd began chanting "Send her back!" The president ramped up attacks against Omar and three other progressive congresswomen of color this week.   

Omar, an American citizen who was born in Somalia, was asked whether his attacks were racist and offered a pointed response directed at the president. 

"We have condemned his racist remarks," she said. "I believe he is fascist because today even Lindsey Graham defended his comments by saying that if I was wearing a MAGA hat — if there was a Somali person wearing a MAGA hat — they would not be deported. But because I criticize the president, I should be deported?"

She added, "And as much as he's spewing his fascist ideology on stage, telling us citizens to go back because they don't agree with his detrimental policies for our country, we tell people that here in the United States, dissent is patriotic here in the United States. Disagreement is welcome, debate is welcomed, and especially in the People's House, all of our voices are heard and we see her. We see me, we see her, we see everyone in this country."

While she said she doesn't fear for her personal safety, she is concerned for people who "share my identities." 

"When you have a president who clearly — who clearly thinks someone like me should 'go back,' the message he's sending is not for me, it's to every single person who shares an identity with me," she said.

Mr. Trump said Thursday he was "not happy" with his supporters' chant and disagreed with it, despite not doing anything to stop it at the rally. He made the remarks in the Oval Office during a meeting with members of Team USA for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games. 

On Wednesday night, Omar also took to Twitter to address the chants. She quoted Maya Angelou's famous "Still I Rise" poem: "You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I'll rise," she tweeted

She later posted a picture of herself standing in front of the House Chamber with the caption: "I am where I belong, at the people's house and you're just gonna have to deal!" 

Her tweets came after Mr. Trump singled her out at his rally in Greenville. He accused Omar of having a "history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds," denigrating the military and minimizing the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Earlier in the day, he also repeated an unfounded claim that Omar married her brother. 

Elected officials defend Omar

Elected officials and other public figures came out in support of Omar, filling Twitter with encouraging messages and #IStandwithIlhan hashtags on Twitter. Some 2020 hopefuls also defended Omar.

Bernie Sanders

"Trump is stoking the most despicable and disturbing currents in our society," Bernie Sanders said on Twitter. "And that very hatred and racism fuels him."

Kamala Harris

"It's time to get Trump out of office and unite the country," Kamala Harris wrote. 

"The Squad"

Omar is part of the self-described "Squad" of four freshmen Democrats that includes Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. Mr. Trump kept up his attacks on all four of them Wednesday.

"Cortez, somebody said that's not her name … I don't have time to go with three different names, we'll call her Cortez," he said. "These congresswomen, their comments, are helping fuel the rise of a dangerous militant hard left."

Ocasio-Cortez responded to Mr. Trump's remarks as well: "To all those scared for our future: we can get through this better than we started. We have the power to triumph over hatred, division, and bigotry."

Earlier in the week, the president tweeted that the women should "go back" where the came from, despite all of them being born in the U.S. except for Omar. In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King, the progressive lawmakers called his racist tweets an intentional "distraction."

On Tuesday, House lawmakers approved a resolution to formally denounce Mr. Trump's recent tirade and racist tweets from last weekend. The measure passed 240 to 185, with four Republicans joining Democrats to rebuke the president.

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