Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called on his Republican colleagues Thursday to condemn President Trump’s “despicable” rhetoric after he failed to stop rallygoers from chanting “send her back” during his tear against Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said the president was appealing to the “worst instincts in people” and the jeers from the crowd were “eerily familiar to what happens in dictatorships.”
“The only way President Trump will stop is when Republicans on the other side have the honor, the decency, the courage to tell him to stop, and all we hear is silence and diversions from Leader [Mitch] McConnell. Our Republican friends are silent, history will show it,” he said. “This is a moment. There’s no John McCain anymore.”
Mr. Schumer then referenced a moment during the late Sen. John McCain’s run for president where he immediately dismissed a claim made by a rallygoer that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was an Arab. At the rally, McCain stopped the woman who made the claim and corrected her, saying it was untrue and his opponent was a “decent family man I just happen to have disagreements with.”
“It went down in history as one of his finest moments. Where are the fine moments in my colleagues? Fifty-three of them on the Republican side and not one of them has spoken out strongly enough,” he said.
The “send her back” chant used by the Greenville, North Carolina, audience against Ms. Omar was influenced by Mr. Trump, who has said this week that she and other congresswomen should “go back” to their countries if they don’t like the United States.
Ms. Omar, Minnesota Democrat, was born in Somalia and became a naturalized U.S. citizen as teenager. The other three liberal congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — were born in the United States.
The president said Thursday he didn’t approve of the chants but praised those who used it as “people who love their country” and “support” him.
“I’m just saying it’s their choice,” Mr. Trump said to reporters in the Oval Office. “They can come back when they want, but you know, they don’t love our country, I think in some cases they hate our country.”
“I was not happy with that message last night. I didn’t say it — they did,” the president said of the people in the crowd. “I didn’t like that they did it.”
Ms. Omar said she said the president was “racist” and he also saw him as “fascist.”
• Dave Boyer contributed to this article.
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