President Donald Trump is addressing the derogatory chant some of his supporters directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), but his explanation for his own actions doesn’t quite check out.
Speaking with reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday, the president said he “was not happy” to hear the chant during his North Carolina rally. Trump suggested reporters go and ask his supporters why they did it, declining to explain why they would chant “Send her back!” in reference to Omar.
“I didn’t like that they did it and I started speaking very quickly,” Trump claimed of his response to the chant. “I could have stood back.”
The president added there was a “tremendous amount of noise and action and everything else,” and reiterated his claim that he “started very quickly.”
Watch the video below, via CNN:
The president’s narrative of the incident is a convenient one — one that suggests he acted quickly to put an end to the chant. It’s also not what happened.
Video from the rally clearly shows the president react to the chant from the crowd, but not by putting a stop to it. Instead, Trump pauses and steps back from the microphone and allows the group to continue, in a similar way to how he regularly handles the “Lock her up!” chants directed at Hillary Clinton that have become a staple of his campaign events.
The chant lasted for about 13 seconds during Trump’s speech. The president appears to wait for a lull in the chant before resuming his speech, undermining the claim that he acted quickly to put an end to it by continuing with his remarks.
Watch the video below, via ABC News:
Pres. Trump continued his now days-long attack on four Democratic congresswomen at his rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night, eliciting chants of "send her back" from the crowd. https://t.co/V9Nf9ve5tf pic.twitter.com/OSf6hkEu4E
— ABC News (@ABC) July 18, 2019
While Trump may be disavowing the chant amid public outcry, it’s based on his words. The chant comes after Trump took to Twitter to tell a group of progressive congresswomen to go back where they came from.
Before the chant interrupted his speech on Wednesday, Trump made a similar declaration: “If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it.” “Send her back” may not be a direct quote from the president, but he certainly fostered the environment where his supporters felt comfortable loudly saying it.