(NBC News) President Trump attempted to distance himself Thursday from a crowd chant of “Send her back!” at his Greenville, North Carolina rally Wednesday night.
The crowd began the chant during Mr. Trump’s tirade against Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, one of four Democratic congresswomen he has lashed out at in recent days.
When asked why he didn’t stop the chant, President Trump said that he did.
“I think I did. I started speaking very quickly. It really was a loud — I disagree with that, by the way. But it was quite a chant, and I felt a little bit badly, but I will say this. I did — and I started speaking very quickly — but it started up rather fast, as you probably noticed,” he said.
Mr. Trump paused for 16 seconds while the crowd chanted, then resumed his speech.
While the president disavowed the chant, he did not take responsibility, and instead seemed to blame his supporters, saying “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it, but again, I didn’t say that. They did. But I disagree with it.”
Condemnation of the rally chant was swift.
“I think the president put millions of Americans in danger last night. His rhetoric is endangering lots of people,” said Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the three other congresswomen the president has targeted.