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Ilhan Omar brands Trump a 'fascist' as the US president tries to distance himself from 'send her back' chant

Omar today branded Trump a “fascist” as he sought to distance himself from mocking chants.

Ilhan Omar.
Ilhan Omar.
Image: J. Scott Applewhite via PA

DONALD TRUMP TODAY sought to distance himself from the incendiary chant of “Send her back” aimed at a Somali-born Democratic congresswoman during an election rally the night before.

“I was not happy with it — I disagree with it,” Trump told reporters when asked about the cry, launched by the crowd in response to an angry tirade by Trump against congresswoman Ilhan Omar. 

Asked why he did nothing to stop the taunt, instead pausing as the crowd chanted it over and over, Trump responded: “I think I did — I started speaking very quickly.”

Television footage showed, however, that Trump let the chant continue for more than 10 seconds before he resumed speaking.

Omar today branded Trump a “fascist” as he sought to distance himself from mocking chants. 

She said: “We have said this president is racist, we have condemned his racist remarks,” said Omar, one of two Muslim women in Congress. “I believe he is a fascist.”

Chants of “Send her back!” broke out at Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rally in Greenville, North Carolina, overnight as he attacked Omar and three other ethnic minority Democratic congresswomen.

Trump was rebuked by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday for “racist comments” for saying the four congresswoman should “go back” to their countries of origin if they are not happy in the United States.

But he made it clear at the rally that he plans to make inflammatory attacks on Omar and her three fellow left-leaning Democrats a centerpiece of his 2020 re-election strategy.

Without a Democratic presidential candidate to focus on yet, the Republican chief executive is seeking to make the minority lawmakers known as the “Squad” the face of the Democratic Party.

The first-term lawmakers — all but one of whom, Omar, were born in the United States — are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African-American descent.

To the delight of his thousands of supporters in Greenville, Trump described Omar and the other Democrats as “left-wing ideologues (who) see our nation as a force of evil”.

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American Dream — frankly the destruction of our country,” Trump said.

The crowd responded to his attacks with cries of “Send her back!” reminiscent of the “Lock her up!” chants directed in 2016 at the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Some Republicans have urged Trump to tone down the rhetoric but the president clearly believes — despite the risk of inflaming racial tensions and widening the partisan divide — that he has latched on to a winning strategy.

© – AFP 2019

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