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Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman July 19, 2019

Trump said when crowd chanted 'send her back' about Omar he stopped it. Video shows otherwise.

President Donald Trump said that he stopped the "send her back" chants at a rally as he spoke about U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, but a video of the rally disputes his next-day version of events.

During his July 17 rally in Greenville, N.C., Trump revved up his attacks on a few liberal Democratic members of Congress, including Omar, who represents Minnesota.

The next day at the White House, a reporter asked Trump about the crowd’s chants.

Question: "When your supporters last night were chanting ‘send her back,’  why didn’t you stop them? Why didn’t you ask them to stop saying that?"

Trump: "Well, No. 1, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly. It really was loud – I disagree with it by the way, but it was quite a chant. And I felt a little bit badly about it. But I will say this: I did, and I started speaking very quickly, but it started up rather fast, as you probably noticed." 

After some cross talk with the interviewer, Trump continued: "I was not happy with it, I disagree with it, but again, I didn’t say that, they did. But I disagree."

In reviewing the video of the rally, we found no evidence that he made any effort to stop it as he said he did. Trump was silent for about 13 seconds when his supporters chanted "send her back" at the rally. 

What happened at the rally

We used the C-SPAN video of Trump’s rally to mark the time stamps of when the "send her back" chants occurred.

When Trump mentioned Omar’s name at about minute 31 during the rally, the crowd loudly booed.

Trump then recited a string of attacks about Omar’s record of statements about terrorism, ISIS, al-Qaida and Sept. 11.

These comments led to more boos from the crowd. 

Then seconds before minute 36, he said, "She looks down with contempt on the hard working Americans saying, ‘Ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country.’ "

A "send her back" chant can be heard amid other noises.  

In this instance, Trump does start talking again quickly -- only pausing for about four seconds (although we can’t tell if he heard the "send her back" chant at this point).

Then he continued: "Obviously and importantly, Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds."

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As he completes that statement, the "send her back" chant starts to rev up.

Starting at 36:13, Trump is silent, gripping the podium and appears to turn his head scanning the crowd in front of him, as the "send her back" chant loudly continues.

The chant then fades out on its own, and Trump continues speaking about Omar at 36:26. He doesn’t change the subject.

We count about 13 seconds while Trump is silent during the "send her back" chants.

The Trump campaign noted that Trump didn’t himself say "send her back" or launch the chant. And in his media availability the next day, he stated that he was not happy with the chant and disagreed with it.

After the chant, Trump continued to talk about Omar as well as three other Democrats: Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. (While Omar was a naturalized citizen, the other three were born in the U.S.)

At minute 48, he described them as having only negative comments about America.

"That’s why I say, hey, if they don’t like it, let them leave, let them leave, let them leave, …" he said. "If they don’t love it, tell them to leave it."

The Trump campaign said that Trump is saying "let them leave" which isn’t the same as forcing someone to leave, or the words of the crowd’s chant "send her back." The campaign made a similar argument about the words of Trump’s tweets.

Trump’s tweets

At the White House, the reporter asking about the chanting crowd said to Trump: "They were echoing what you said in your first tweet, that they should go back."

Trump responded: "if you examine it, I don’t think you will find that, but I disagree with it."

The Trump campaign said Trump didn’t tweet that the congresswomen "should go back" — emphasis ours. In his tweets, he said if someone hates America "you can leave" and "it is your choice."

Our ruling 

When a reporter asked Trump why he didn’t tell the crowd chanting "send her back" to stop, he said, "I think I did. I started speaking very quickly."

When a "send her back" chant was heard amid other noises, Trump did start talking quickly, though it’s hard to tell if he even heard the chant. 

But then he continued his criticisms of Omar, and the "send her back" chant revved up in the crowd loudly, with multiple people in unison. It is at this point that Trump is silent for about 13 seconds. We see no statement or body language on his part to stop the chant. Trump gave no indication that he wanted the crowd to stop. 

We rate this statement False.


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Trump said when crowd chanted 'send her back' about Omar he stopped it. Video shows otherwise.

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