US President Donald Trump on Thursday sought to distance himself from the incendiary chant of "Send her back" aimed at a Somali-born Democratic lawmaker during an election rally the night before.
"I was not happy with it - I disagree with it," Trump told reporters when asked about the cry, launched by the crowd in response to an angry tirade by Trump against congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
Asked why he did nothing to stop the taunt, instead pausing as the crowd chanted it over and over, Trump responded: "I think I did -- I started speaking very quickly."
Meanwhile, US congresswoman Ilhan Omar said she believes President Donald Trump is a "fascist," one day after he criticised the Democrat at a rally where his supporters chanted demeaning comments about her.
"We have said this president is racist, we have condemned his racist remarks. I believe he is a fascist," Omar, one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, told reporters in Washington.
Omar is among a group of ethnic minority Democrats in Congress who have been the target of Trump's attacks over several days, as he accused them of hating America and urged them to "go back" to their countries of origin.
On Wednesday, fired up by Donald Trump, the crowd targeted Somali-born Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of only three Muslims in the US House of Representatives, with cries of "Send her back! Send her back!"
The derisive chant at Trump's "Make America Great Again" rally set the tone for a 2020 White House campaign that is shaping up to be just as heated and toxic as the 2016 election.
Trump made it clear at the gathering in Greenville, North Carolina, that he plans to make his inflammatory attacks on Omar and three other left-leaning Democratic congresswomen a centerpiece of his re-election strategy.
Without a Democratic presidential candidate to focus on yet, the Republican chief executive is seeking to make the minority lawmakers known as the "Squad" the face of the Democratic Party.
Trump was rebuked by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday for "racist comments" for saying the four should "go back" to their countries of origin if they are not happy in the United States.
The first-term lawmakers -- all but one of whom, Omar, were born in the United States -- are of Hispanic, Arab, Somali and African-American descent.
Trump shrugged off the House rebuke and went back on the offensive in Greenville.
US congresswoman Ilhan Omar said she believes President Donald Trump is a 'fascist'.