Clearwater Republican Chris Latvala calls 'send her back' chant racist, criticizes Trump for not stopping it

“Chanting 'Send her back' towards a Congresswoman (or any American) is racist."

Clearwater Republican Chris Latvala calls 'send her back' chant racist, criticizes Trump for not stopping it
Photo by Florida House of Representatives
A Republican state representative just criticized Trump for not stopping the chants of “send her back” directed at congresswoman Ilhan Omar at a recent rally. 

Rep. Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater) tweeted that the chants targeting Omar, a Minnesota representative who was originally born in Somalia, were just helping divide the country.   “Chanting 'Send her back' towards a Congresswoman (or any American) is racist. POTUS when he heard it should have put a stop to it,” he tweeted.

Central Florida politicians commented on his tweet, with Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) thanking Latvala. Edgewood Mayor John Dowless, however, said he disagreed. 

“’I’m pretty sick of hearing her insult and criticize America especially when America rescued her from refugee camp!” he commented.A crowd at a Wednesday night Trump rally in North Carolina broke out into the chants as Trump began to criticize Omar, in line with recent tweets and comments he has made telling Omar and other progressive congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." 

In a possible coincidence, Latvala's tweet came after Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo called for Florida Republicans to denounce Trump, saying "by not speaking out about these comments you are telling every Florida immigrant they are not welcome here. "

"Donald Trump made it clear Wednesday night that he will try to win reelection by encouraging racist and hateful ideologies that have no place here in the United States," Rizzo said. "Our nation's diversity is what makes us the greatest country in the world. Every Florida Republican has an obligation to call this kind of hate out when they see it, but once again they continue to encourage Trump's repulsive behavior with their silence."

State Rep. Carlos G. Smith (D-Orlando) called out Trump and retweeted Latvala, predicting just before the rally that Trump's re-election campaign crowds would start saying "send them back" instead of "lock her up."

"Racist.  Xenophobic. Islamophobic. Dangerous. Totally disgusting.  Depressing. Destructive. Un-American," Smith tweeted. "Is this 2019? Is this really the United States? What have we become?"

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