Social media erupted with criticism on Wednesday evening after some in the crowd at a campaign rally for Donald Trump in Greenville, North Carolina, chanted “Send her back!” after the president criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
The chant was short-lived, and began as President Trump began criticizing Omar for her history of antisemitic comments. Trump did not appear to anticipate the chant, or to encourage it, and did not react to it in real time.
Reaction to the chant sent “#TrumpRally” to the top of Twitter trends in the United States. Democrats were aghast:
The crowd at Trump’s rally chanting “send her back” after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 17, 2019
Trump and his crowd are perfectly aware that “Send her back” is not describing voluntary emigration https://t.co/wFqgFnOSiA
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) July 18, 2019
Crowd at North Carolina Klan rally responds to Grand Wizard Donald Trump’s attack on a black woman in Congress with chants of “send her back.”
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 17, 2019
Whether it's "send her back" or "lock her up," "there has to be some form of punishment" or "grab her by the p***y"—the throughline is contempt for women and anyone who threatens this president's fragile ego.
He should be afraid. We are his worst nightmare. And we will beat him.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) July 18, 2019
Some conservatives also criticized the chant:
Anyone who follows me knows that I cover the far-left and that includes Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and I’m aggressive in my reporting which comes from a conservative angle
With that said, chanting “send her back” at Omar is not good
Keep in mind, I am one of her harshest critics
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 18, 2019
“Send her back” is an appalling chant. Omar is a US citizen.
My less-catchy chant would be: “Condemn her bigotry, combat her radicalism, and investigate her seriously alleged fraud!”
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 18, 2019
I won't pretend it's easy as a Jewish-American to defend Omar. I won't pretend it's not sickening to watch the media and others excuse her bigotry and radicalism. But this is bigger than her. This is about us.
America is better than that.
— (((AG))) (@AG_Conservative) July 18, 2019
Others suggested taking the chant with a grain of salt — or a sense of humor:
pure mob insanity?
apparently, you've never been to a sporting event. https://t.co/2skMit9jPa
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) July 18, 2019
Omar herself responded by quoting a Maya Angelou 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.
-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
The chant dominated post-rally coverage and commentary on CNN and other outlets.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.