Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar struck back Thursday against Donald Trump and his “Send her back”-braying fans, saying the raucous catcalls were not so much about her, but about what Trump stands for: fascism.
“I believe he is fascist,” Omar said Thursday, the Daily Beast reports. “I want to remind people that this is what this president and his supporters have turned this country [into]; this is supposed to be a country where we allow democratic debate and dissent to take place.
“And so, this is not about me. This is about us fighting for what this country truly should be.”
With the very definition of “fascism,” per Merriam-Webster, being “a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control,” where exactly is the lie?
In any case, Omar’s comments came a day after Trump supporters chanted “Send her back! Send her back!” during a MAGA rally Wednesday night in Greenville, N.C.
The raucous call was in response to Trump’s continued attacks on Omar and three other freshman congresswomen with whom she is closely aligned—Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)—aka “the Squad,” as being somehow how “unAmerican” due to their critique of the way in which he and his administration are running the nation.
“I say, ‘If they don’t like it, let them leave.’ ... They don’t love our country and in some cases I think they hate our country,” Trump told the raucous crowd, saving some of his most pointed attacks for Omar.
On Thursday, during a photoshoot at the Oval Office, Trump tried to distance himself from the xenophobic outcry against Omar, telling reporters, as the Washington Post reports:
“I wasn’t happy with that message that they gave last night,” Trump said of the crowd at his rally in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday night. “I was not happy when I heard that chant.”
Although as the Post also notes, that wasn’t what he said that night:
Upon returning to the White House on Wednesday, Trump tweeted about the energy at the rally, writing, “What a crowd, and what great people.”
And, it appears the attempt at contrition was also somewhat contrived as it came after a private White House meeting between Trump’s No. 2, Mike Pence, and Republicans who said racist talk like “Send her back” was stepping on their message of trying to make the Squad’s progressive policies the face of the Democratic Party heading into the 2020 presidential election cycle.
As the Post explains:
During the meeting, Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), a former pastor who had been at the rally, told Pence that “we have to be defined by our policies, not by offensive chants,” according to a person familiar with the discussion who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private conversations.
And even after basically exclaiming, “Did I do that?” regarding the dumpster fire that was his Greenville rally, Trump was still taking potshots at the Squad’s “love of country,” on Thursday, telling reporters the four congresswomen “have a big obligation — and the obligation is to love your country.”
As if exercising one’s First Amendment rights were not the very definition of loving one’s country.