President Donald Trump continued his tirade against “The Squad” at a Wednesday rally in Greenville, N.C., thrusting the four freshmen Democratic congresswomen he’s been lobbing insults at to the forefront of the 2020 race — and reiterating his divisive statement: “If they don’t love [America], tell them to leave it.”
Many observers took particular issue with the remarks he made about Rep. Ilhan Omar.
“Rep. Omar blamed the United States for the terrorist attacks on our country,” Trump said, without citing a specific instance.
“Send her back!” his crowd chanted in response to Trump’s criticisms of Omar.
This is not cute, witty, or benign. This is malignant, dangerous, violent, white supremacist hatred targeting a sitting member of Congress, @IlhanMN, a Black woman, a Muslim. This vitriolic racist, antipathy puts her life in danger.#IStandWithIlhan #RacistPresident pic.twitter.com/Jk5X8uDOhC— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) July 18, 2019
Within hours, #IStandWithIlhan was trending on Twitter, with public figures and fellow politicians weighing in.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT), a 2020 presidential candidate, quickly condemned Trumps words “and the very hatred and racism that fuels him.”
#IStandWithIlhan and am proud to work with her in Congress.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) July 18, 2019
Trump is stoking the most despicable and disturbing currents in our society. And that very hatred and racism fuels him. We must fight together to defeat the most dangerous president in the history of our country.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also a 2020 candidate, called for impeachment proceedings to begin, and also targeted “complicit Republicans everywhere.”
We must call out those who remain silent. We must initiate impeachment proceedings to hold him accountable. And we must build an unstoppable grassroots movement that resoundingly defeats not just Trump, but complicit Republicans everywhere.— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 18, 2019
Also harshly condemning the president was 2020 candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who tweeted, “It’s time to get Trump out of office and unite the country.”
It’s vile.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 18, 2019
It defiles the office of the President.
And I won't share it here.
It’s time to get Trump out of office and unite the country.
Fellow Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke said the chants were “the product of a president who sees our diversity not as a strength but as a weakness.”
These chants don’t happen by accident. They are the product of a president who sees our diversity not as a strength, but as a weakness. I believe in our country. And I believe, together, not allowing our differences to divide us, we will defeat him and everything he stands for. https://t.co/RKZ6PTQM4g— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) July 18, 2019
Mansoor Shams, a Pakistani immigrant who is an advocate for Muslims in the U.S. and a former U.S. Marine, posted several tweets condemning the president. He wrote, “To Ilhan & others being scapegoated: this US Marine has your back!”
Dear #TrumpRally people chanting “send her @IlhanMN back” — remember it’s the sacrifice of this proud Muslim American US Marine & others like me that allows YOU to be YOU. Be grateful!— MuslimMarine (@mansoortshams) July 18, 2019
To Ilhan & others being scapegoated: this US Marine has your back! March on! #IStandWithIlhan pic.twitter.com/WbjkdTAQvy
Actress Piper Perabo, meanwhile, shared support and a photo, writing, “She is a good mother, citizen, friend and an important member of Congress.”
#IStandWithIlhan She is a friend.— Piper Perabo (@PiperPerabo) July 18, 2019
We have talked about Minnesota voters, who she cares about. She cares about students. She supports women. She supports other civically engaged women (that’s how we met!) She is a good mother, citizen, friend and an important member of Congress. pic.twitter.com/NPZLukTRXM
And a woman from Minnesota shared a story about being with Rep. Omar the first time she received a death threat in the mail.
I’ll never forget the first time I watched @Ilhan receive a death threat. It came in the mail w/ no return address. She opened it, read it, folded it back up and said “I hope they find peace.”— joelle (@joellestangler) July 18, 2019
She’s not going anywhere. And neither are we.#IStandWithIlhan pic.twitter.com/iUY8cSB3I4
Omar herself responded on Wednesday night, quoting the poet Maya Angelou.
You may shoot me with your words,— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) July 18, 2019
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
-Maya Angelou https://t.co/46jcXSXF0B
Trump kicked off this latest firestorm Sunday morning in a series of tweets, widely condemned as racist, telling the four congresswomen of color to “go back” to the “crime infested places from which they came.”
All four lawmakers are U.S. citizens, and three of the four were born in the U.S.
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