Trump says he prefers rally crowd not chant 'send them back'

Trump says he prefers rally crowd not chant 'send them back'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE said he does not know if his supporters will chant “send them back” about four minority lawmakers at a Thursday night rally, but said he prefers they do not.

“I prefer that they don't,” Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for the rally in Cincinnati.

The president initially repudiated the chants after a rally crowd chanted last month in North Carolina, but later backed away from his condemnation. He was noncommittal about whether he would try to quiet the crowd if they made the chant.

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“If they do the chant, we'll see what happens,” the president said. “I don’t know that you can stop people … If they do it, we’ll have to make a decision then.”  

Trump added the rally venue is a “very large one,” suggesting he may not hear the chant if it breaks out. The rally is taking place at the 17,500-seat U.S. Bank Arena.

The previous chant erupted when the president targeted Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarWorld Jewish Congress condemns Tlaib for suggesting boycott of Bill Maher's show A lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair Tlaib suggests boycotting Maher show after he calls anti-Israel boycott movement 'bulls--- purity test' MORE (D-Minn.) at his rally last month.

The congresswoman was among four minority freshman lawmakers attacked by Trump on Twitter, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Pro-Trump Republican immigrant to challenge Dem lawmaker who flipped Michigan seat 3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Ocasio-Cortez brushes off Trump tweet claiming she is 'fuming' over Tlaib, Omar attention Trump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' MORE (Mass.) and Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibWorld Jewish Congress condemns Tlaib for suggesting boycott of Bill Maher's show F-bombs away: Why lawmakers are cursing now more than ever A lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair MORE (Mich).

Trump called for the lawmakers to "go back" where they came from, despite all four being U.S. citizens and three of them being born in the country. The fourth, Omar, was born in Somalia and immigrated to the United States as a refugee.

Updated 4:29 p.m.