United States President Donald Trump has said lawmakers had an obligation to love and embrace the country, as he disavowed the chanting of "send her back" by his supporters against a Democratic Congresswoman. "The Congressmen and women also have a big obligation in this country and in every country.... And the obligation is to love your country," Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday. The president was responding to a question about his supporters chanting "send her back" against Representative Ilhan Omar at a rally in North Carolina on Wednesday night.
"I'm not happy about when I hear a chant like that. And I've said that and I've said it very strongly," Trump said. Somali-born Omar and three other non-white Democrat Congresswomen -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib -- have been criticised by Trump recently in a series of alleged racist tweets.
"They have such hatred. I've seen statements that they made with such hatred toward our country and I don't think that's a good thing," Trump said. "They should embrace our country. They should love our country. And things would be a lot better." The president described his supporters as those who love the country.
"I want them to keep loving our country. And I think the Congresswomen, by the way, should be more positive than they are. The congresswomen have a lot of problems," he said. The women, informally known as 'The Squad', have been critical of Trump's harsh immigration policies.
"When you look at the statements they made that were so bad and so horrible to our country," he said. "It's hard to believe that they could make statements like that." Trump had earlier accused them of hating the country and suggested that they should just "go back" to where they came from.
The controversial statements and tweets by the president triggered widespread uproar and the House of Representatives had passed a resolution on Tuesday to condemn his remarks. Trump alleged that the leading voices of the Democrat Party were "left-wing extremists". He claimed that these left-wing ideologues reject everything the country stands for and see "our nation as a force of evil".