President Trump on Thursday insisted he was "not happy" with his supporters' chant to "send her home," referring to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. Mr. Trump, who did nothing to, Wednesday night, claimed Thursday he thought he had. Mr. Trump made the remarks in the Oval Office during a meeting with members of Team USA for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games.
Asked why he didn't stop the chant, Mr. Trump said, "I think I did — I started speaking very quickly."
The president added, "I was not happy with it — I disagreed with it."
Video of the rally, however, does not show the president making any visible or audible attempts to interject and halt his supporters. Video of the rally shows the president pausing as the crowd chants.
Asked if he would try to stop such chants the next time, Mr. Trump told reporters he would "certainly try."
Mr. Trump began the controversy over the weekend with a series of racist tweets that congresswomen should "go back" to their countries. Mr. Trump has since defended that tweet, claiming it was not racist.
The president heard from multiple voices on the chant situation Thursday. Those who counseled that the president moderate his position or leave the impression he was unhappy included First Lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
The president considered the advice during the morning and weighed the possible downside of appearing to apologize or give in - something his supporters might dislike - before deciding to relent and back away from the chants publicly.