Sending fresh mixed signals about his view of the chant directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Trump shared video of the episode posted by the commentator, Katie Hopkins, who has said “Islam disgusts me” and who last year appeared to link a rabbi’s pro-migrant work to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Hopkins was celebrating the moment in Greenville, North Carolina, on Wednesday, suggesting that the crowd’s chant could be a new slogan for Trump’s reelection campaign. “Send her back is the new lock her up,” she wrote, referring to a refrain from the 2016 campaign directed at Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. “Well done to #TeamTrump,” she added.
Trump, who has shifted his account of how he responded to the chant, posted Hopkins’ tweet on his own feed while adding commentary that placed some distance between himself and his supporters that night in Greenville. “As you can see, I did nothing to lead people on, nor was I particularly happy with their chant. Just a very big and patriotic crowd. They love the USA!” Trump wrote early Saturday.
A day after the Greenville rally, Trump falsely claimed that he had tried to interrupt the chant, something clearly disproved by the video. Speaking to reporters Friday, he declined an opportunity to criticize the chant, calling his supporters “incredible patriots” and saying he was unhappy that Omar “can hate our country.”
It is unclear whether Trump was aware of the background of Hopkins, a right-wing agitator whose attacks on Muslims have largely exiled her from the mainstream news media. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.