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Trump supporters chant ‘send her back’ at rally

The row between President Donald Trump and four Democratic congresswomen has escalated after his supporters chanted “send her back” at a campaign rally.

The chant was directed at Somali-born lawmaker Ilhan Omar, though Mr Trump had also attacked three other non-white lawmakers during his speech.

Ms Omar, who is a US citizen, responded on Twitter by quoting a poem by civil rights activist Maya Angelou.

Ahead of the rally, a bid to impeach Mr Trump was blocked in Congress.

The controversial chants took place at Mr Trump’s campaign rally in North Carolina.

Mr Trump was cheered on by the crowd of thousands as he again accused Ms Omar and her fellow congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley – known as “the squad” – of hating America.

Critics say it echoed the “lock her up” phrase adopted by his supporters against Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

In response, Ms Omar tweeted lines from Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise: “You may shoot me with your words…But still, like air, I’ll rise.”

She later shared a photo of herself in the House of Representatives, saying, “I am where I belong”.

On Twitter, #IStandWithIlhan began trending as Democrats expressed their support for Ms Omar and criticised the president for prompting the chants with his rhetoric.

Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted: “Trump is stoking the most despicable and disturbing currents in our society.”

Senator Kamala Harris, another Democratic 2020 contender, described the actions as “vile”.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer drew comparisons to dictatorships.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi simply told reporters: “We condemned the president’s comments the other day. That’s our statement.”

Some conservatives have also censured the use of the phrase.

Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee Tom Emmer – who, like Ms Omar, represents Minnesota in Congress – told reporters he did not agree with the language.

“There’s no place for that kind of talk,” Mr Emmer said, according to Politico, though he stopped short of calling the chants racist. He said the chant was “not acceptable”.

North Carolina congressman Mark Walker said that he “struggled” with the chant and that the focus should be on “her history, words & actions” instead of “phrasing that’s painful to our friends in the minority communities”. –BBC

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