[guest post by Dana]
One day after his supporters chanted “send her back” at this week’s rally in North Carolina, and after taking heat from Melania and Ivanka Trump about it,
President Trump sought to distance himself from the supporters :
“I was not happy with it. I disagree with it,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
He also told reporters that he “felt badly” about the chanting.
Yet, the following day, Trump reversed course, and touted the chanting supporters:
Trump also praised his supporters who chanted at a rally, “Send her back!,” a refrain directed at one of the lawmakers, Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). The president called the campaign crowd “incredible patriots” — a day after saying he disagreed with the chant.
Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots,” the president said…
“She’s lucky to be where she is, let me tell you,” he said. “And the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country.”
Asked about his unhappiness with the rally chant, Trump said: “You know what I’m unhappy with? I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things.”
Reporters asked Trump if he believed that the “Send her back!” chant was racist.
“No, you know what’s racist to me? When somebody goes out and says the horrible things about our country, the people of our country, that are anti-Semitic, who hate everybody, who speak with scorn and hate,” Trump said. “ . . . We’re dealing with people who hate our country.”
Here is video of the president sharing with reporters his complete list of things that he is unhappy about with regard to the Democratic congresswomen:
Trump also bizarrely warned about criticizing the United States on his watch:
Trump said Friday that criticism of the United States is unacceptable and that the four congresswomen “can’t get away with” it.
“I can tell you this, you can’t talk that way about our country, not when I’m the president,” he told reporters outside the White House.
Every American has the right of free speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution, a reporter pointed out — and the president acknowledged that.
“We have First Amendment rights also — we can . . . say what we want,” Trump said. It was unclear who he was referring to as “we.”
As is standard practice, the media was also targeted by Trump:
In tweets earlier Friday, Trump characterized media coverage of his rally in Greenville, N.C., as “crazed” and complained that the media was “totally calm & accepting” of what he said were “vile and disgusting statements” made by Omar and the three other minority congresswomen whom he has repeatedly criticized in recent days.
Trump also complained that the media covered the return of Omar to her home state Thursday. She was greeted at the Minneapolis−St. Paul International Airport by a crowd chanting, “Welcome home, Ilhan!”
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)