Accuracy in Media

By calling out Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) for her documented anti-Semitism, President Donald Trump was inspiring the crowd at his rally Wednesday night in Greenville, N.C., to engage in a racist chant, according to a piece Friday from the Washington Post.

The Post’s Ashley Parker took a number of liberties with the facts in “How a racist tweet became a Trump rally chant in three short days.”

The deception began with her lead: “This is the story of how a racist suggestion – that four congresswomen ‘go back’ to their ‘totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came’ – became an angry rallying cry in three short days.”

What Trump actually tweeted is: “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

Parker then wrote that Trump “awoke” Sunday morning and, “surprising just about his entire political orbit, targeted four Democrats – Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) – in a trio of tweets.”

Trump’s tweets mentioned no names.

She then wrote that “the ensuing controversy unspooled as if from muscle memory – with all Trump’s world a stage, and all the men and women within it merely players.”

There was “the early silence and pantomimed shrugs,” Parker wrote. Then, on Monday came “the exposition – part clarification and part double-down – in which Trump and his allies claimed he was simply saying that, if these women were so unhappy in the United States, well, no one was forcing them to stay.” Again, that was not part of Trump’s tweet.

Then, “later that day came the political calculation, in which the president, his campaign and the Republican National Committee eagerly elevated” the so-called Squad “as the allegedly anti-American and anti-Semitic faces of the Democratic Party.”

There is no “allegedly” to the anti-Semitic statements of Omar and Tlaib. Omar has accused members of Congress who support Israel as being “all about the Benjamins” and Tlaib has said it gave her a “calming feeling” to think about the Holocaust, in which 6 million people – most of them Jews – were murdered because of racism.

“Then, finally, the denouement,” Parker wrote. The hot, steamy July night in Greenville, N.C., “where the crowd took up Trump’s cause for him, chanting ‘Send her back! Send her back!’ as he railed against Omar.

“The president and his allies may have aimed for plausible deniability – he’s not racist and he in no way suggested that these women were somehow ‘others’ who belong elsewhere, came the refrain – but his supporters seemed to understand exactly what he meant. And they were more than happy to oblige,” she wrote.

The president paused as the chant took hold. He did not look comfortable, and he since has disavowed the chant.

But that’s not what Parker saw.

“The president paused, as if to let the moment unfurl, to fan another guest of oxygen onto the fire of racial animus devouring his base.”

This probably isn’t the end of it, Parker wrote. “There is a very real possibility that a chant, which began as a suggestion from a racist tweet, will simply be added to the panoply of greatest hits at his political rallies – another angry interlude in the Trump Show.

“Trump’s dubious history on the topic of race – from nativist to racially charged to downright racist – is long and well-documented, even just from his time as a politician onward.”  

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