Trump took heat from Melania and Ivanka over racist chants at rally

Trump took heat from family over racist rally chants

Last Updated Jul 19, 2019 5:57 PM EDT

WASHINGTON — President Trump took a lot of heat from his family over the racist chants at a campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday, CBS News has learned. He heard from first lady Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka and Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr. Trump on Thursday disavowed the chants of "send her back" and said he tried to stop it. "Well, number one, I think I did, I started speaking very quickly," he said.

But the video tells a different story. The president stands in silence for nearly 15 seconds, looking around the arena. When Mr. Trump resumed his speech, he made no mention of the chant, which started after he attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar. The rally left Republicans once again answering for the president. 

CBS News learned that Mr. Trump spoke to several members of his inner circle about how to react to the chant. He weighed the pros and cons of softening his tone, worried supporters would not like it.

But ultimately, he declared unhappiness. Congressional Republicans also expressed concerns to Pence and asked him to relay the message to the president.

Omar is one of the four Democratic congresswomen of color who Mr. Trump told to "go back" to their original countries. All are U.S. citizens and only Omar was born outside the U.S.

Trump: "I'm not happy" with "send her back" chant

Mr. Trump was asked Thursday why his supporters chanted "send her back." 

"What I would suggest, you go there, go to North Carolina and you ask the people why did they say that," he said.

But on Friday Mr. Trump claimed his family did not advise him on what to do — they just talked to him. 

"We -- I talked about it, but they didn't advise me.  They told me, but I didn't—" the president told reporters on the White House South Lawn, insisting the suggestion was "fake news." 

The president also didn't directly answer a question from CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, who asked how he would feel if someone told the first lady, who is from Slovenia, to go back to her country. 

"Well if you go back into the four congresswomen, the things they've said about our country are terrible, what they've said about Israel are just terrible," Mr. Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn Friday, sidestepping the question. "I don't know I can't say for sure but certainly a lot of people say they hate our country and I think it's a disgrace what they've said. ... I've done all of this for Israel. And then you have these people I think Omar I find it hard to believe but I hear Omar today put in or yesterday put in a sanctions bill against Israel and other things beyond sanctions. So when I hear that, you just can't talk about our country that way. And when people are angry at them I fully understand it."

The president said he would try to stop the chant if it comes up again. But Omar said the damage is done

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

Major Garrett contributed to this report.