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"We are not going to lie down," Rep. Omar says at town hall after "send her back" chants

Omar holds town hall amid Trump rally backlash

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar returned to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport on Thursday to cheers, one day after a crowd at President Trump's rally chanted "send her back" when he singled the Minnesota Democrat out for criticism. Omar held a previously scheduled town hall on Medicare on Thursday night with Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington. 

"Welcome home Ilhan!" the crowd cheered when Omar walked into the airport. Omar told reporters at the airport that it felt "good to be home," and she retweeted video of her arrival and wrote "home sweet home!!"

There was security at the town hall, which was mostly full, according to CBS Minnesota. Omar received a standing ovation when she got on stage. 

"I know there are a lot of people that are trying to distract us now, but I want you all to know that we are not going to lie down," Omar told the crowd. 

Omar, a supporter of Medicare for all, called the health care system "broken." 

"Here is what medicare for all means in real terms," Omar said. "High-quality healthcare for all U.S. residents. Comprehensive coverage including dental, vision, and long-term care. No co-pays, deductibles, or other cost sharing. Substantial administrative savings through global budgeting of hospitals and a more efficient healthcare system by cutting out private insurance company middlemen."

Rose Roach, the executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association, told Omar "we are so grateful for all the amazing things you do in Congress and we stand with you." 

Mr. Trump's name was not mentioned at the town hall. Many town hall attendees told CBS Minnesota they had planned to attend already to hear about Omar's plans about Medicare For All, but they said they also wanted to come to show their support for Omar. 

Omar, who was first elected to Congress in November, is one of four progressive freshmen congresswomen of color known as "The Squad," who first publicly disagreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by refusing to vote for a $4.6 billion border bill. But the internal Democratic Party fight turned on Sunday when Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter the four women should "go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Omar, a Somali refugee who became a naturalized American citizen, is the only one of the four women who was not born in the U.S. At a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, Mr. Trump singled her out, falsely claiming she blamed the U.S. for terrorist attacks. The crowd responded with chants of "send her back." 

Trump-Democrats
Rep. Ilhan Omar speaks to supporters on Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Minnesota.  Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP

After Mr. Trump and the crowd were widely criticized, Mr. Trump claimed Thursday he was "not happy" with the chant, although he did nothing to stop it during the rally. CBS News has learned that the president took heat from first lady Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka over the racist chants. He also heard from Vice President Mike Pence.

Omar's immediate response Wednesday night was with a pair of tweets, first writing, "I am where I belong, at the people's house, and you're just gonna have to deal!" She then tweeted a Maya Angelou poem that read: "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."

Omar told reporters Thursday that immigrants like her are as American as everyone else in the country, CBS Minnesota reported.

"We are where we belong," she said. "I told people on my election night, in the great state of Minnesota, we don't just welcome refugees, we send them to represent us in Washington. As much as [Trump is] spewing his fascist ideology on stage, telling you as citizens to go back because they don't agree with his detrimental policies for our country, we tell people that here in the U.S the sense is patriotic, here in the U.S. disagreement is welcome, debate is welcome, and especially in the people's house, all of our voices are uplifted."

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