What the Media Won’t Tell You About the ‘Send Her Back’ Chant

No, this was not a bunch of racist rednecks sounding off about a minority lawmaker

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Chanting “send her back” is odious, no doubt.

If you’ve somehow missed the last 12 hours of news, President Trump last night gave a rally in Greenville, N.C., where he began laying into “The Squad,” the four far-left lawmakers whom he’s been sparring with all week: Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

When Trump began listing off negative things Rep. Omar had said about the United States, the rowdy crowd began chanting, “Send her back!” Trump did not appear to acknowledge the chant and continued with his remarks. 

The media is already turning this into something about race, which it’s clearly not.


What makes Rep. Omar unique isn’t her skin color (there are plenty of black lawmakers on both sides of the aisle), but how unusually rude and ungrateful she is as an immigrant. First generation immigrants are typically among the most patriotic Americans. Yet Omar’s virtual every comment is an attack on the country that welcomed her, offered her a place of peace and security, provided her the opportunity to achieve her dreams. 

The average American loves their country and believes being an American is a privilege. Omar seems to view America as a blight, being American an embarrassment. 

As a quick refresher: Rep. Omar frequently describes Americans as ignorant, racist, and xenophobic; she’s mocked Christianity and the idea America is a “great” country, even accusing the U.S. of committing human rights abuses; she’s claimed Jewish interests control U.S. foreign policy; likened the United States to al Qaeda and Hezbollah; blamed the U.S. for the crisis in Venezuela; specifically avoided denouncing ISIS/al Qaeda; spoken favorably of Iran, and suggested she’s more patriotic than her conservative critics.

Imagine inviting a new neighbor into your home, offering them food, friendship, and assistance, only for that person to begin lecturing you about all of your imperfections, about how that neighbor who keeps stealing from you actually has a good point, about your best friends across the street actually being evil people, and about how your home won’t be very nice until he/she guts it and builds something entirely new in its place. At some point you might be tempted to tell this person to take a hike. 

Chanting “send her back” isn’t an attack on Omar’s race or even an attack on immigrants. It’s an expression of anger about an immigration policy that pays no mind to whether applicants actually appreciate the country that’s welcoming them. 

Another point is about the media’s role in all of this. With the exception of a few small conservative outlets, no major news outlet has reported on what appears to be Omar’s well-documented abuse of the system. When these bigger outlets ignore a story about someone in power flagrantly abusing the law, they get pissed. Why, for example, has CNN dedicated more resources toward doxing creators of Trump memes than they have a politician committing tax/immigration fraud? Again, people react to all of this with anger, whether that’s healthy or not. 

So, no, there’s no excuse for chanting about deporting an American citizen. There’s also no excuse for completely ignoring that context in which the chant occurred, as that will only make the situation more toxic. 

Like our work? Support the cause.