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George Takei: US has hit a new low under Trump

Japanese American actor George Takei blasted President Trump on Friday, comparing recent political rhetoric to what he heard while interned during World War II. 

"It is an eerie and chilling echo in current politics," Takei told Sky News. "During the last presidential campaign, we heard the chant 'lock her up,' meaning Hillary Clinton. Now we're hearing the chant 'send her back.' ... During our time, it was 'lock up the Japs.'" 

The rebuke was a clear reference to the chant that erupted during a Trump rally in North Carolina this week. Attendees repeated "send her back" in the middle of a diatribe against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a naturalized U.S. citizen who came to the country as a refugee from Somalia.

Trump initially disavowed the chant Thursday, saying he "was not happy with it," but he later said the chanters "love our country."

He added that he tried to squelch the chant by speaking quickly to quiet the crowd, but he waited 14 seconds for the rally to quiet. 

The chant and Trump's reaction compounded an escalating scandal that erupted last weekend when he said that Omar and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), four progressive House freshmen known as "the squad," should go back to "the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." 

Three of the four lawmakers were born in the U.S., and all are citizens. The House formally condemned as racist the remarks in a 240-187 vote Tuesday. 

Takei, a frequent critic of the Trump administration, also slammed the White House over its hard-line immigration policies, particularly for a spike in family separations at the border last year.

"What's happening today, though, is a new low because we as children were never torn away from our parents. What's happening on the southern border is this incredible thing, this cruel thing of tearing children, sometimes infants, away from their parents and putting them in cages," he said.