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Pence said Trump "Might Make an Effort" to Speak out Against Offensive Chants by Supporters in Future

July 21, 2019 - 9:01 am
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Vice President Mike Pence said President Trump "might make an effort" to speak out against offensive chants by his supporters at campaign rallies in the future.

"He might make an effort to speak out about it," Pence told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett during an interview for "The Takeout" podcast, parts of which aired Sunday on "Face the Nation." 

The vice president was pressed on Mr. Trump's recent attacks against four Democratic congresswomen of color, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

Mr. Trump recently suggested the progressive foursome should "go back" to the "totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Since eliciting widespread condemnation from Democrats and a handful of Republicans — including a House resolution denouncing the remarks — Mr. Trump has doubled down on his attacks, repeatedly accusing Pressley, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Omar of hating the U.S. and saying they can "leave" the country. 

As he took direct aim at Omar at a campaign in North Carolina on Wednesday, a defiant Mr. Trump was buoyed by the raucous crowd, which chanted "send her back!" Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen, was born in Somalia, a country she and her family fled because of ethnic strife. 

Pence tried to distance the president from his supporters' racist chants. 

"The president wasn't pleased about it. Neither was I. The president's been very clear about that," he added. 

The vice president nevertheless said "millions of Americans share the president's frustration" about the four Democratic congresswomen of color he has been targeting with racist remarks. He accused them of partaking in "anti-Semitic" rhetoric and smearing law enforcement by comparing detention centers for migrants near the U.S.-Mexico border to concentration camps. 

"I think that millions of Americans share the president's frustration about sitting members of Congress engaging in that kind of reckless rhetoric whether it be anti-Semitic rhetoric, whether it be referring to border patrol agents as running concentration camps and the president thought it was important to stand up to them," Pence said. "And I'm glad he did it."