Ilhan Omar calls Trump a 'fascist' after 'send her back' chant: 'Because I criticized the president, I should be deported?'

Ilhan OmarRep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks at a news conference after Democrats in Congress moved to formally condemn President Donald Trump's attacks on the four minority congresswomen on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 15, 2019.Erin Scott/Reuters
  • Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar on Thursday had strong words for President Donald Trump after the president's supporters chanted "send her back" in reference to the Minnesota lawmaker the night prior. 
  • Omar called Trump a "fascist" and a "racist."
  • She added, "This is not about me, this is about us fighting for what this country truly should be."
  • Trump on Thursday said he was not "happy" about the chant, but he paused and allowed it to continue during his Wednesday rally - offering no objections at the time. 
  • The chant went on for approximately 13 seconds before Trump started speaking again.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar on Thursday slammed President Donald Trump as a "racist" and "fascist" a day after he falsely attacked her for supporting Al Qaeda and then looked on as the crowd chanted "send her back" at his rally in North Carolina. 

"I believe he is a fascist," Omar said of Trump while speaking to reporters. The Minnesota lawmaker, who is a naturalized US citizen, said America is "supposed to be a country where we allow democratic debate and dissent to take place."

She added, "This is not about me, this is about us fighting for what this country truly should be."

 

The "send her back" chant erupted at a Trump rally on Wednesday night as the president attacked Omar, whom he targeted along with three other progressive Democratic lawmakers in racist tweets on Sunday.

Trump's tweets, which were aimed at four women of color, suggested they "go back" and "help fix the totally broken and crime infested" countries "from which they came." All four are US citizens and three were born in the US. 

Omar was born in Somalia and came to the US as a child after fleeing a civil war in her native country. She became a US citizen at 17. 

Read more: Weeks of Democratic infighting between Nancy Pelosi and 'the Squad' preceded Trump's racist tweet attacks

The "send her back" chant on Wednesday in reference to Omar echoed Trump's racist tweets. 

The president did not object to the chant at the time and paused to let it continue, but on on Thursday told reporters he was "not happy" and disagrees with it. 

"She looks down with contempt on the hard-working Americans, saying that ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country," Trump said of Omar in the moments before the chant began. 

The "send her back" chant - and the fact Trump did not rebuke it as it transpired - prompted widespread criticism of the president and his re-election campaign. 

But Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a key Trump ally, defended the president. He said "send her back" isn't racist because he doesn't believe it would've been said about a Somali refugee who's embraced Trump. 

Read more: Trump supporters chant 'send her back' as the president attacks Ilhan Omar at rally in North Carolina

"I don't think a Somali refugee embracing Trump would be asked to go back. If you're racist, you want everybody to go back because they are black or Muslim," Graham said on Thursday. "That's not what this is about. What this is about to me is that these four congresswoman, in their own way, have been incredibly provocative."

The "go back" comments reference a racist "go back to Africa" trope that was leveled for generations against blacks who spoke up against injustice and unfair working conditions.

Responding to Graham's comments, Omar on Thursday said to reporters, "Because I criticized the president, I should be deported?"
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