House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., decried on Sunday the “send her back” chants directed at freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., at a rally for President Trump last week as “inappropriate,” but denied that the chants were in response to Omar’s race or gender.
“It is absolutely wrong and should not have happened.,” Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, said durinig an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Cheney added: “This isn’t about race. It’s not about gender. It’s not about religion.”
Cheney went on to slam Democrats for pushing “policies that are dangerous for this nation.”
“I would really like to see the media as focused on the substance of what this wing of the Democratic Party is advocating because that is really dangerous for our country. Socialism is dangerous,” she added.
Trump on Thursday chided his supporters who chanted “send her back” when he questioned the loyalty of Omar, but seemed to do a reverse the next day when he called the rally-goers “patriots.”
“Those are incredible people. They are incredible patriots. But I’m unhappy when a congresswoman goes and says, ‘I’m going to be the president’s nightmare,” he said.
It was another dizzying twist in a saga sparked by the president’s tweets about Omar, who moved from Somalia as a child, and her colleagues, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
The moment took an ugly turn at the rally when the crowd’s “send her back” shouts resounded for 13 seconds as Trump paused in his speech and surveyed the scene, taking in the uproar. The next day he claimed he did not approve of the chant and tried to stop it.
But on Friday, he made clear he was not disavowing the chant and again laced into Omar, the target of the chant.
“You can’t talk that way about our country. Not when I’m president,” Trump said. “These women have said horrible things about our country and the people of our country.”
He also tweeted that it was “amazing how the Fake News Media became ‘crazed’ over the chant ‘send her back’ by a packed Arena (a record) crowd in the Great State of North Carolina, but is totally calm & accepting of the most vile and disgusting statements made by the three Radical Left Congresswomen.”
Omar was defiant after the rally, telling reporters at the Capitol that she believes the president is a “fascist” and casting the confrontation as a fight over “what this country truly should be.”
“We are going to continue to be a nightmare to this president because his policies are a nightmare to us. We are not deterred. We are not frightened,” she told a cheering crowd that greeted her like a local hero at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as she returned from Washington.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.