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Rep. Ilhan Omar brands Trump a ‘fascist’ after ‘send her back’ rally taunt

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Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar branded Donald Trump a “fascist” on Thursday as the president sought to distance himself from mocking chants of “Send her back!” directed at the Somali-born lawmaker by his supporters.

“We have said this president is racist, we have condemned his racist remarks,” said Omar, one of two Muslim women in Congress. “I believe he is a fascist.”

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Chants of “Send her back!” broke out at Trump’s “Make America Great Again” rally in Greenville, North Carolina, overnight as he attacked Omar and three other ethnic minority Democratic congresswomen.

Trump claimed to reporters in the Oval Office on Thursday that he was not pleased by the taunts.

“I was not happy when I heard that chant,” he said. “I didn’t like that they did it, and I started speaking quickly.”

Television footage showed, however, that Trump let the chant continue for more than 10 seconds before he resumed speaking.

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Trump was rebuked by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday for “racist comments” for saying the four congresswoman should “go back” to their countries of origin if they are not happy in the United States.

But he made it clear at the rally that he plans to make inflammatory attacks on Omar and her three fellow left-leaning Democrats a centerpiece of his 2020 re-election strategy.

Without a Democratic presidential candidate to focus on yet, the Republican chief executive is seeking to make the minority lawmakers known as the “Squad” the face of the Democratic Party.

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The first-term lawmakers — all but one of whom, Omar, were born in the United States — are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African-American descent.

To the delight of his thousands of supporters in Greenville, Trump described Omar and the other Democrats as “left-wing ideologues (who) see our nation as a force of evil.”

“A vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American Dream — frankly the destruction of our country,” Trump said.

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The crowd responded to his attacks with cries of “Send her back!” reminiscent of the “Lock her up!” chants directed in 2016 at the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Some Republicans have urged Trump to tone down the rhetoric but the president clearly believes — despite the risk of inflaming racial tensions and widening the partisan divide — that he has latched on to a winning strategy.

– ‘Cynical strategy’ –

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Trump tapped into a vein of grievance among white blue-collar and rural Americans to eke out a narrow victory in 2016 and he’s hoping to do the same again next year.

“He’s rallying his base,” said Wendy Schiller, a professor of political science at Brown University. “His electoral strategy is to divide and conquer.”

“He needs every single one of those voters who voted for him in 2016 to vote for him again,” Schiller said. “He thinks this is a way to get them riled up now.”

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“So it’s a smart strategy for him to make these four women the face of the Democratic Party, in his mind, in terms of maintaining the votes that he got in 2016.”

Trump won 57 percent of white voters in 2016 while Clinton won 37 percent.

Some 70 percent of the electorate next year is expected to be white. African-Americans, Hispanics and other minorities account for the rest and tend to vote for Democrats.

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Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said Trump’s attacks on the “Squad” were aimed squarely at the white voters who delivered him the White House in 2016.

“It’s a cynical strategy,” Sabato said. “Most presidents wouldn’t do it because they don’t want to be tagged as racists by history. But Donald Trump doesn’t give a damn as long as he wins.”

– ‘Vile’ –

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Several of the Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls condemned Trump’s remarks.

“It’s vile. It’s cowardly. It’s xenophobic. It’s racist,” said California Senator Kamala Harris. “It’s time to get Trump out of office and unite the country.”

“These members of Congress — children of immigrants, just like so many of us -— are an example of exactly what makes America great,” said Joe Biden, the former vice president.

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Republican reaction has been more muted but some were speaking out.

“I deeply disagree with the extreme left & have been disgusted by their tone,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. “I woke up today equally disgusted — chants like ‘send her back’ are ugly, wrong, & would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers.

“This ugliness must end, or we risk our great union.”

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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GOP lawmaker cut the mic on black woman’s facts — but let white men spew ‘lunacy and lies’: report

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The Republican chair of a Tennessee legislative committee is under fire for cutting off the microphone while a woman of color was speaking -- but allowing white men to spew "lunacy."

"It took all of five minutes for Sen. Mike Bell, chairman of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, to prove Cherisse Scott’s point. Scott is founder and CEO of Sister Reach, a Memphis organization that fights for reproductive freedom and health for rural women and girls of color struggling with poverty," Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Tonyaa Weathersbee explained.

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Here’s why Jeffrey Epstein surrounded himself with scientists

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The list of confidants and friends who were fêted by the late financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein included a number of prominent scientists. Among the eye-popping names that appeared on the list: the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking, Nobel-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, physicist Frank Wilczek, neurologist Oliver Sacks, and geneticist George M. Church.

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Trump just humiliated his own son with an absurd tweet about Greenland

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President Donald Trump confirmed multiple reports this weekend when he said that he does, indeed, hope to buy Greenland and make it part of the United States.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has said that the country, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is “not for sale”: “Greenland belongs to Greenland.” Which should be the end of the story. Unfortunately, it’s not.

On Monday, Trump sent the following tweet, apparently trying to quell suspicions that the president just regards Greenland as another place to expand his business empire:

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