US Representative Ilhan Omar says she will not be intimidated by President Donald Trump, who has attacked her with racist comments more than once this week, as she returned to a warm welcome in her home state of Minnesota.
“We are not deterred. We are not frightened,” she told her supporters who held signs saying “End racism now” and “I stand with Ilhan”.
“We are ready,” Omar said to cheers, before heading to a town hall on Medicare for All.
On Wednesday, Trump renewed his attacks against four Congresswomen of colour, including Omar of Minnesota, at his first campaign rally in North Carolina since announcing his 2020 re-election bid.
“They never have anything good to say. That’s why I say, ‘Hey if you don’t like it, let ’em leave, let ’em leave.'” He added, “I think in some cases they hate our country.”
Taking aim at Omar, he said: “She looks down with contempt on hard-working Americans saying ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country.”
The crowds, decked out in the colours of the US flag and “Make America Great Again” caps, responded with the chant – “Send her back! Send her back!”
His criticism of Omar, which included a false accusation that she has voiced pride in al-Qaeda, received widespread criticism from politicians as well as people, with #IStandWithIlhan trending at number one in the US.
Trump also claimed he had tried to stop the chant in North Carolina though video showed he let the chants continue as he took a long pause.
“I started speaking really quickly,” he told reporters on Thursday. “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it” and “would certainly try” to stop any similar chant at a future rally.
Earlier, a defiant Omar called the US president “fascist”. She cast the confrontation as a fight over “what this country truly should be.”
“We are going to continue to be a nightmare to this president because his policies are a nightmare to us,” she told a cheering crowd that greeted her like a local hero at the Minneapolis St Paul International Airport.
Trump started the week’s tumult by tweeting on Sunday that Omar and three other Congresswomen could “go back” to their native countries if they were unhappy here.
His other targets were Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
The four Congresswomen, known as “the squad”, condemned Trump’s racist tweets, saying they won’t be silenced.
In a rare vote earlier this week, the House of Representatives condemned Trump’s racist weekend tweets against the four politicians. All four are US citizens and all but Omar were born in the US.
Representative Ocasio-Cortez said on Thursday Trump’s attacks on her and three other Democratic Congresswomen are putting millions of Americans at risk of physical harm.
Al Jazeera and news agencies