The Latest: Trump says he’d prefer no ‘send her back’ chant

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s rally in Cincinnati (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he would “prefer” his supporters not engage in a “send her back” chant directed toward Rep. Ilhan Omar, but that if they do he’ll still “love” them.

Trump reluctantly distanced himself from the chant after a rally two weeks ago, which followed racist tweets he sent against Omar and three other first-term lawmakers of color. Trump had suggested that if they didn’t like the U.S. they should return to where they came from, even though all four are American citizens. The chant at the Greenville, North Carolina, rally sparked widespread condemnation.

Trump says he’s unsure what he’ll do if supporters bring back the chant at an Ohio rally Thursday. He adds that regardless of what happens, his message to supporters is, “I love them.”


3:30 p.m.

Thousands of people have been lined up hours ahead of President Donald Trump’s evening rally in Cincinnati.

Nurse Cynthia Wells says there were some 150 people already there when she arrived a little after 8 a.m., nearly 11 hours before the rally.

The 63-year-old woman is attending her third Trump rally, saying she likes their “energy.”

She doesn’t expect to hear the “send her back!” chants about a Somali-born congresswoman from a July rally in North Carolina because Trump later expressed his disapproval. She says she won’t participate because that isn’t his message.

Robyn McGrail was celebrating her 44th wedding anniversary with husband Mike by attending their third Trump rally. She says if the chant begins, she’ll probably cheer because she loves her country and if they “don’t like America, they should leave.”


12:21 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s latest rally will be a test for both candidate and crowd.

The Cincinnati gathering Thursday night will be Trump’s first since his audience chanted “Send her back!” about a Somali-born congresswoman during a July rally in North Carolina, raising the prospect of a 2020 presidential campaign increasingly fought along racial lines.

The chant about Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota by a roaring Greenville crowd rattled Republicans.

Trump let the chant roll at the rally. Since then, he has issued incendiary tweets and a series of attacks on a veteran African-American congressman and his predominantly black district in Baltimore.

Heightening the drama, Trump’s rally will come on the heels of two Democratic debates and will take place against a backdrop of simmering racial tension in Cincinnati.

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