Bill Weld, the former Massachusetts governor running against President Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020, on Thursday forcefully condemned Trump’s hate-filled rally in North Carolina.
“I challenge every Republican to watch [Trump’s] rally last night, complete with chants of ‘Send her back,’ and ask if that is the Party of Lincoln and Reagan we signed up for,” Weld tweeted. “We are in a fight for the soul of the GOP, and silence is not an option. #AmericaDeservesBetter.”
Trump renewed his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color ― Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.) ― during his rally Wednesday night in Greenville.
He accused the lawmakers, all outspoken critics of the president, of being anti-American and called for them to “leave” the country if they are unhappy with it.
After Trump falsely accused Omar of having “a history of launching vicious, anti-Semitic screeds,” the massive crowd began chanting “Send her back,” a reference to the president’s racist tirade against the lawmakers Sunday in which he suggested they “go back” to other countries.
All four congresswomen are Americans. Omar fled war-torn Somalia with her family when she was 8 years old and immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee four years later. The other three were born in the U.S.
Trump’s “go back” remarks drew condemnation from Democrats and mostly silence from Republicans, with a few exceptions such as Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). The president and some of his most loyal supporters have denied that calling on American lawmakers of color to “go back” to other countries is inherently racist. The hateful history of such remarks is well-documented, however, and Trump’s comments were widely embraced by white nationalists seeking to rid the country of nonwhite people.
Historians warned that the remarks chanted by Trump rallygoers bore resemblance to fascist gatherings of the past.
“I am not easily shocked. But we are facing an emergency,” tweeted Jason Stanley, a Yale University philosophy professor and author of the book “How Fascism Works.” “This is the face of evil.”
The White House did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment about whether the president condemns such chants.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated that Omar emigrated from Somalia in 1995. In fact, she emigrated in 1991.