Jake Tapper on Trump's rhetoric: 'No more dog whistles, just naked racism'

CNN anchor Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperCNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Defense secretary fires Navy chief over SEAL war crimes case Democrats look to next steps in impeachment MORE said the "send her back" chants at President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE's Wednesday rally is indicative of his 2020 reelection strategy — rooted in blatant racism. 

"This is all part and parcel of the president's 2020 reelection strategy, no more dog whistles, just naked racism," Tapper said Thursday. "Telling American citizens who are a different color to 'go back where they came from.' It’s a campaign tactic we need to be aware of as a tactic, not withstanding the obvious immorality of bigotry." 

The crowd at Trump's North Carolina rally on Wednesday night broke into chants of "send her back" after the president renewed an attack on Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire MORE (D-Minn.), who was born in Somalia.

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"[Omar] has made controversial comments herself, though the president's lies about what she has said and demonizing of her prompted results last night that was so shocking even some of the meekest and least critical Republicans in the House of Representatives voiced their discomfort, if not horror and revulsion," Tapper said. 

Some House Republicans joined Democrats in speaking out agains the rally chant, just days after only four members of the GOP voted with Democrats to condemn the president's initial tweet telling four Democratic congresswomen — all people of color — to "go back" to the "crime infested placed from which they came."

It was targeted at Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocrats ask if they have reason to worry about UK result Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez to hold campaign rallies in Los Angeles, Las Vegas Overwhelming majority say social media companies have too much influence: poll MORE (N.Y.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' House passes bill that would give legal status to thousands of undocumented farmworkers Biden narrowly ahead in Iowa as Sanders surges, Warren drops: poll MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyIlhan Omar responds to 'Conservative Squad': 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' Sanders, Omar to hit campaign trail in New Hampshire Booker unveils legislation for federal bill to ban discrimination against natural hair MORE (Mass.) and Omar. Only Omar was born outside the U.S. 

Trump tried to disavow the chant Thursday, telling reporters, “I was not happy with it. I disagree with it.”

He claimed to have helped stop the chants by starting to speak "very quickly." 

"That’s a naked lie," Tapper said. "When the chants started the president stopped talking he let the crowd go and he did not resume until the chant died out on its own."

CNN's timer clocked Trump's pause at 13 seconds as he let the crowd chant "send her back." 

A Trump campaign spokesperson called Tapper's comments "ridiculous."

"That’s ridiculous, but you know that CNN is gonna CNN," the Trump campaign spokesperson said.

-- Updated at 5:56 p.m.