The Latest: Trump claims he was ‘not happy’ with chant

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Donald Trump

People in the audience cheer as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Williams Arena in Greenville, N.C., Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s reelection rally in North Carolina (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he “was not happy” when his supporters at a rally Wednesday night in North Carolina chanted “send her back” in reference to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Trump is claiming that he thought he ended the chant at the rally, saying “‘I felt badly about it.” But video shows him pausing his remarks and not admonishing his supporters.

He adds he “would certainly try” to stop the chant should it return.

Trump said this weekend that Omar and other progressive Democratic lawmakers of color should leave the country and “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came” over their criticism of his administration. The racist message sparked days of controversy, as the president sought to make the progressive lawmakers the face of their party.

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11:45 a.m.

The top Republican in the House says “send her back” chants about Somali-born Rep. Ilhan Omar at President Donald Trump’s Wednesday night rally “have no place in our party and no place in this country.”

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asserted, however, that Trump’s hostility to Omar is about ideology, not race, telling reporters Thursday that “this is about socialism vs. freedom.”

The California Republican is a staunch trump ally. While decrying the chants of the pro-Trump crowd at the North Carolina rally, McCarthy said Trump has not been stoking hatred toward Omar and other progressive Democrats of color.

At a rally Wednesday night in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump began by verbally attacking Omar as the crowd chanted, “Send her back!” Omar came to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia when she was a child.

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10:45 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says it’s time to “lower the rhetoric” about racism.

He’s also rejecting an assertion by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that he helped further racism by not criticizing recent comments by President Donald Trump.

The Kentucky Republican says on the Fox Business Network that Ocasio-Cortez’ accusation is “nonsense.” He says he attended Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and President Lyndon Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act in the 1960s.

McConnell says he agrees with Trump that Ocasio-Cortez and three other young congressional Democrats want to make the U.S. socialist.

He didn’t mention Trump’s comments at a rally suggesting the four lawmakers can leave the U.S. if they’re unhappy. He also didn’t mention the crowd’s chants of “send her back,” directed at one of the Democrats, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.

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9:35 a.m.

The chairman of the House Republican campaign organization says “there’s no place” for the “send her back” chants unleashed at a campaign rally for President Donald Trump.

Rep. Tom Emmer heads the National Republican Congressional Committee. The Minnesota lawmaker is referring to the crowd’s chants Wednesday night in North Carolina that were aimed at Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. She’s a fierce Trump critic.

At the rally, Trump began by verbally attacking Omar as the crowd chanted “send her back!” Omar came to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia when she was a child.

Emmer tells reporters on Thursday that “there’s not a racist bone in this president’s body.”

And Emmer is defending Trump, who’s said critics of the U.S. should leave the country.

Emmer says Trump meant that dissatisfied people can leave, and “that goes for every one of us. It has nothing to do with your race, your gender or your family history.”

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8:20 p.m. Wednesday

President Donald Trump is going after four freshman Democratic lawmakers one by one after previously tweeting that they should “go back” to their home countries if they have complaints about the U.S., even though they are all American citizens.

At a rally Wednesday night in Greenville, North Carolina, Trump began by verbally attacking Rep. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota as the crowd chanted, “Send her back!” Omar came to the United States as a refugee from war-torn Somalia when she was a child.

Trump also mentioned Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Of Tlaib, he complained that she is “not somebody who loves our country” because she had referred to impeaching him using an expletive.

The president’s rhetoric on Wednesday echoed similar language he employed to rile up his base in 2016.

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7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Vice President Mike Pence says the Democratic Party is increasingly led “by left-wing liberals who ridicule this country.”

Pence introduced President Donald Trump before a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday night. The president narrowly won the state in 2016.

Pence says the truth is “jobs are back, confidence is back” and “America is back.

Pence’s comments come as the president continues his ongoing spat with four Democratic congresswomen of color who he said should “go back” to their own countries if they don’t like America. The Democratic-led House voted to condemn his comments as racist.

All four lawmakers are American citizens, and three of them were born in the United States.

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