CNN's Jim Acosta on 'Send Her Back' chants: Trump is trying to 'gaslight his way out of this mess'
CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (screengrab)

On Thursday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta gave Wolf Blitzer a harsh assessment of President Donald Trump's attempts to disown the chants of "Send Her Back!" directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) at his rally in North Carolina the previous day.

"President Trump is now gaslighting his way out of the mess he started with his racist tweets," said Acosta. "Today, the president claimed he tried to put a stop to the 'Send Her Back!' chants coming from his crowd in North Carolina last night, but that's not true. Unlike the president, the video doesn't lie."

"President Trump is finding out there's no going back after 'Send Her Back!'" Acosta continued in a voiceover. "The president tried to fudge his way around accusations that he didn't do enough to stop chants of 'Send Her Back!' aimed at Congresswoman Omar at his rally in North Carolina." He played a clip of Trump saying, "I felt a little bit badly about it, but I will say this, I did — and I started speaking very quickly."

"But that's not true. Watch the video. The president paused and allowed the chants to continue for a full 13 seconds as he attacked Omar." He played a clip of Trump accusing her of "vicious, anti-Semitic screeds," and pausing to let the crowd roar.

Even though Trump is now trying to pretend it was all the crowd's idea, Acosta noted, "the crowd was essentially echoing the president's racist tweet from earlier in the week, when he told four Democratic women of color to go back to where they came from. Asked a second time about the chant, the president praised his audience and then blasted the congresswomen once again."

"These are people who love our country," said Trump in the clip. "I want them to keep loving our country, and I think the congresswomen, by the way, should be more positive than they are. The congresswomen have a lot of problems."

"But the president's targets aren't holding back, either," said Acosta, playing clips of the Democratic congresswomen he attacked.

"I believe he is fascist," said Omar. "This is not about me. This is about us fighting for what this country truly should be and what it deserves to be."

"His rhetoric is endangering people," said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). "It's not just about threats to individual members of Congress, but it is about creating a volatile environment in this country."

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