AP

Trump Says He’d Rather Rallygoers Not Chant ‘Send Her Back!’

Aug 1, 2019, 4:02 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:03 pm
President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House where Mark Es...
President Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House where Mark Esper is sworn in as the Secretary of Defense in Washington, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

CINCINNATI (AP) — President Donald Trump said he would “prefer” that his supporters at a rally Thursday night don’t engage in a “Send her back!” chant about a Somali-born congresswoman, after he faced widespread criticism for not doing more to stop the attack on Rep. Ilhan Omar at an event two weeks ago.

Speaking to reporters before leaving the White House for Cincinnati, Trump said he doesn’t know whether they will chant anyway, or what his response would be if they do — adding that, regardless, he “loves” his political supporters.

“I don’t know that you can stop people,” Trump told reporters. “If they do the chant, we’ll have to see what happens.”

The chant about the Minnesota Democrat by a roaring Greenville, North Carolina, crowd last month rattled Republicans and raised the prospect of a 2020 presidential campaign increasingly fought along racial lines. It followed racist tweets Trump sent against Omar and three other first-term lawmakers of color, instructing them to get out of the U.S. “right now” and saying if the lawmakers “hate our country,” they can go back to their “broken and crime-infested” countries.

Two weeks ago, Trump wavered in his response to the divisive cries, letting the chant roll at the rally, expressing disapproval about it the next day and later retreating from those concerns.

Since then, Trump has pushed ahead with incendiary tweets and a series of attacks on a veteran African-American congressman and his predominantly black district in Baltimore. Heightening the drama, Trump’s Ohio rally will come on the heels of a pair of debates among the Democrats who want to replace him and will take place against a backdrop of simmering racial tension in the host city of Cincinnati.

All eyes will be watching both the Ohio crowd’s behavior and how Trump reacts. Even his closest advisers seem uncertain as to what may transpire.

“If it happened again, he might make an effort to speak out about it,” Vice President Mike Pence said recently.

Republican Rep. Steve Chabot, who represents a Cincinnati-area district, said Wednesday he hopes the crowd will avoid such chants this time, and he thinks Trump will react more quickly if does happen.

“I would discourage the crowd from doing anything inappropriate and I think saying something like that would be inappropriate,” Chabot said. “I would hope that the president would silence the crowd, tell them: ‘Hey, don’t do that, there’s no place for that. It’s not helpful, it’s not right.'”

Long accused of weaponizing race for political gain, Trump has escalated his harsh language in recent weeks, beginning with racist tweets about Omar, the Minnesota congresswoman who moved to the United States as a child, and her Democratic House colleagues Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

Days later, the Greenville crowd’s “Send her back!” shouts resounded for 13 seconds as Trump paused in his speech and took in the uproar.

Democrats condemned the scene and GOP lawmakers scrambled to denounce it lest the moment come to define their party heading into the next election. Though not faulting Trump himself, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said the chant had “no place in our party and no place in this country.”

After first saying he wasn’t happy about the chant, Trump in subsequent days praised the “patriots” in the North Carolina crowd. Since then, he has not backed off his criticism of the congresswomen of color, and instead launched repeated attacks on Rep. Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore, describing the majority-black city as a “living hell.”

Trump’s reelection campaign did not respond to questions about whether the president or campaign staffers would try to prevent the chant from erupting Thursday in the same downtown Cincinnati arena that housed one of Trump’s most raucous 2016 rallies.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday that he found Trump’s comments about the congresswomen “inappropriate” but added that he would not raise the matter with the president.

“If Trump allows his supporters to hijack his own rally, that does not bode well for the rest of his campaign,” said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist who worked on Marco Rubio’s 2016 campaign. “If he encourages the chant, it would be divisive for the country and for the Republican Party.”

Conant added: “I’d hope to see him steer clear of anything that could evoke the chant. And if his supporters began chanting it anyway, and he shut it down, I think he would appear strong and get some bipartisan praise.”

Trump captured Ohio by nearly 9 percentage points in 2016, and he fared somewhat better among midterm voters in Ohio than among voters in Rust Belt neighbors Michigan and Wisconsin. About half of Ohio voters, 49%, expressed approval of Trump’s job as president, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of the electorate in 2018. Forty-four percent of voters in Michigan, and 43% of voters in Wisconsin, approved of Trump.

Several protests are planned around the Trump rally, including one at the nearby National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It focuses on the slavery era and current struggles against injustice around the world.

___

Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

AP

FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...
David McHugh, AP Business Writer

OPEC+ makes big oil cut to boost prices; pump costs may rise

OPEC+ alliance makes big cut to world oil production to boost sagging prices, which could mean rising costs at the pump
19 hours ago
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 14: In this aerial view, former U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a...
ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago dispute

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to step into the legal fight over the classified documents seized during an FBI search of his Florida estate, escalating a dispute over the powers of an independent arbiter appointed to inspect the records.
2 days ago
FILE: A sign is posted on the exterior of Twitter headquarters on April 26, 2017 in San Francisco, ...
Tom Krisher, Matt O'Brien and Randall Chase, Associated Press

Musk offers to end legal fight, pay $44B to buy Twitter

Elon Musk is abandoning his legal battle to back out of buying Twitter by offering to go through with his original $44 billion bid for the social media platform.
2 days ago
FLINT, MI - JANUARY 13:   The Flint Water Plant tower is shown January 13, 2016 in Flint, Michigan....
ED WHITE, Associated Press

Judge tosses charges against 7 people in Flint water crisis

A judge has dismissed charges against seven people in the Flint water scandal, including two former state health officials blamed for deaths from Legionnaires’ disease.
2 days ago
FILE: Loretta Lynn performs during the 16th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference at Ascend ...
Kristin M. Hall, AP Entertainment Writer

Loretta Lynn, coal miner’s daughter and country queen, dies

Loretta Lynn, the Kentucky coal miner’s daughter who became a pillar of country music, has died. She was 90.
2 days ago
An aerial view of destroyed buildings on Oct. 3, 2022, in Izium, Ukraine. Izium is still without el...
Adam Schreck and Vasilisa Stepanenko, Associated Press

Russian losses evident in key liberated Ukrainian city

The bodies of Russian soldiers are lying in the streets of a key city in eastern Ukraine following their comrades' retreat that has marked the latest defeat for Moscow.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Trump Says He’d Rather Rallygoers Not Chant ‘Send Her Back!’