Trump Attempts to Disavow “Send Her Back” Chant He Visibly Enjoyed During Rally

Video of the event shows the president is lying.

Alex Brandon/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

President Donald Trump on Thursday attempted to distance himself from the “send her back” chants that erupted at a campaign rally the previous night during his tirade about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a naturalized US citizen who as a child fled Somalia’s civil war. Trump now claims he “was not happy” with the bigoted refrain.

“I was not happy with it,” Trump told reporters from the Oval Office. “I disagree with it.”

Asked why he didn’t stop his supporters from continuing with the chant, Trump insisted that he, in fact, did. “Well, number one, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly,” he claimed. “I disagree with it, by the way. It was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly about it.”

But videos of the rally show Trump nearly basking in the crowd’s chants and listening to it for more than 10 seconds before proceeding with his remarks. Despite video evidence contradicting Trump’s comments from the Oval Office, several news outlets ran with the headline the president clearly desired. 

The president’s sudden effort to disavow the chant comes amid rare but mild condemnation from conservatives, though most have yet to acknowledge that his recent attacks against Omar and other Democratic congresswomen of color are racist.

During the 2016 race, Trump similarly claimed that he didn’t approve of the infamous “lock her up” chants demanding jail time for Hillary Clinton. That chant remains a popular rallying cry at his political rallies.

Trump on Thursday also asserted that there was a difference between the chant and his Sunday tweets telling the congresswomen to “go back” to their “crime-infested countries.”

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate