House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended President Trump on Thursday after chants of “send her back” broke out at a Trump rally Wednesday night.
The top-ranking House Republican said the chants came from a “small group” of people that the president didn’t engage with.
“The president didn’t join in any chant like that,” he told reporters. “The president moved on with his speech.”
Mr. McCarthy circled back to the argument he made earlier this week — that the president’s criticisms aimed at Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib are based on a fight against socialism.
Mr. Trump, who came under fire over the weekend for suggesting that the four freshmen congresswomen return to the dysfunctional governments “from which they came,” doubled down on his criticism at the rally Wednesday night in North Carolina.
Mr. Trump targeted Ms. Omar in particular, slamming several previous comments the Minnesota congresswoman made, including controversial remarks about the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The crowd then began chanting “send her back.”
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez slammed Republicans Thursday for not pushing back against the president in stronger terms, saying they “benefit” from his tactics.
The New York congresswoman said the matter has increasingly become a safety issue and that they’re “certainly” looking into getting more security and having that conversation with the rest of the party.
“Well, I don’t feel safer today than I did yesterday,” she said. “But as each day goes on the Republican party’s targeted attacks puts us further in danger. And yesterday it escalated to a very large degree.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’s communicated with the sergeant at arms’ office “to be sure our members have what they need for their protection.”
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