Trump, Ilhan Omar, and the “Send her back” chants

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Zach Gibson/Getty Images


We ran the numbers: There are 2191 news articles covering this topic. 24% (533) are left leaning, 52% (1131) center, and 24% (527) are right leaning.

“Send her back!” chants broke out as Trump lashed out at Representative Ilhan Omar at his campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina, on Thursday. Omar, an American citizen, was born in Somalia, sought refuge in the U.S., and was granted asylum as a teenager. The outburst followed a series of Trump tweets, sent on Sunday, that urged progressive congresswomen —  American-born Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley, as well as Omar — to return to their countries. The House of Representatives voted to condemn these tweets as racist, and Representative Al Green introduced an impeachment resolution, but the House voted to kill the resolution. Trump later removed himself from the incident, saying he had not supported the chanting.

Our data show that Trump supporters’ “Send her back!” chant garnered 2191 articles, 533 (24%) of which were left-leaning, 1131 (52%) of which were center-leaning, and 527 (24%) of which were right-leaning. 

Left-leaning sources focused on the racist statements in Trump’s rallies and tweets. An article in the Washington Post suggested he had, in fact, condoned the chanting: “As thousands chanted “Send her back!” at a campaign rally Wednesday night in Greenville, N.C., the president paused to let it amplify.” A story sourced from CNN, stated that the attacks on the four congresswomen exemplify Trump’s understanding of the Democratic Party as a whole.

Right-leaning sources, including a column in the right-leaning Gazette Extra, used the incident to emphasize the importance of Trump’s tweets to the success of his campaign. The reliably right-leaning Jewish Voice framed Trump’s words as an imperative for members of Congress to “love our country.” The Beaufort Observer denounced Omar and Ocasio-Cortez as “extremists.” 

Centrists sources tended to shy away from direct callouts, focusing instead on other aspects of the Trump–Omar feud. One center-leaning news outlet, Mediaite, discussed the veracity of a rumor circulating in the right-wing about Omar’s personal life.