Trump Reverses Course, Embraces as ‘Incredible Patriots’ the Crowd That Chanted ‘Send Her Back’

Trump Reverses Course, Embraces as ‘Incredible Patriots’ the Crowd That Chanted ‘Send Her Back’

Having spent Thursday distancing himself from the “Send her back” chant that broke out at his North Carolina rally earlier in the week, President Trump is now spending Friday re-embracing it.

Trump offered a fairly full-throated defense of the chanters during an Oval Office appearance marking the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing with the surviving crew members of Apollo 11.

First he expressed his unhappiness with an unnamed congresswoman, though one can assume it was one of the four he has spent the last few days attacking:

“You know what I’m unhappy with? I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman can say anti-Semitic things. I’m unhappy with the fact that a congresswoman in this case, a different congresswoman, can call our country and our people ‘garbage.’”

None of the congresswoman have called the country “garbage.” Rep. Ilhan Omar had condemned as “garbage” some of Trump’s statements during a press conference this week. It is possible he is inflating her words about him into a verbal attack on America. It would not be the first time he failed to distinguish between the two.

His diatribe about “garbage” seemed to get him so incensed that he turned to defending the crowd that chanted “send her back” when he brought up Omar at the rally:

“Those people in North Carolina, that stadium was packed. It was a record crowd. I could have filled it ten times, as you know. Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots.”

So after spending Thursday saying he had not liked the chant, after multiple leaks from the White House and Capitol Hill made it clear that some of his closest advisors and members of Congress did not like the chant and wanted him to disavow it, after his own daughter-in-law spent Friday morning on Fox dismissing the chanters as “just a couple of people” in a much larger crowd, the president blew all that up by embracing them.

It is Charlottesville all over again. Forced into an insincere walkback that fails to quell the controversy, the president reversed course with a full-throated defense of the original sentiment. In Charlottesville it meant claiming against all available evidence that there were “very fine people” in a crowd of white nationalists. Here it meant calling the people demanding to send an immigrant woman of color back where she came from “incredible patriots,” binding them tighter to himself.

Watch the video above, via Fox News.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.