- The Washington Times - Friday, July 19, 2019

President Trump on Friday tried to shift political pressure back onto four liberal lawmakers as he deals with backlash against his supporters’ chants at a North Carolina rally, insisting the Democrats’ comments on U.S. policy and Israel are the real offense.

“They say things about Israel that’s so bad I’m not even going to repeat them,” Mr. Trump said as he departed the White House for his New Jersey golf club. “They can’t get away with that act.”

Mr. Trump faced an outcry, even from GOP lawmakers, after a Greenville crowd chanted, “Send her back!” on Wednesday. They were referring to Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee who became a U.S. citizen before being elected to Congress from Minnesota.

Mr. Trump has been very critical of Ms. Omar, part of a quartet of freshmen Democrats known as “The Squad,” as way out of the mainstream.

He’s cast all four as the new “extreme” face of the Democratic Party and, in a Sunday tweet, told them to “go back” to their countries if they’re unhappy.

All four are citizens, and Ms. Omar is the only one who was born outside of the U.S.

Mr. Trump disavowed the chant on Thursday, though since then he’s focused on what the liberal lawmakers have said, instead of critics who say he’s fanning an ugly side of his base ahead of the 2020 election.

“I don’t care if it’s good or bad about politics. Many people say it’s good. I don’t know if it’s good or bad,” Mr. Trump said. “I can tell you this — you can’t talk that way about our country, not while I’m president.”

Pressed on whether the liberal lawmakers are using their First Amendment rights when they complain about U.S. policy, Mr. Trump said: “We have First Amendment rights, also, we can certainly feel and say what we want.”

Mr. Trump also said he didn’t take any advice from first lady Melania Trump or his daughter, Ivanka, on how to respond to the chants, saying reports to the contrary were “fake news.”

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