Pence made the comments just days after a crowd in North Carolina repeatedly chanted the phrase while Trump attacked Omar, a Somali refugee who arrived in the U.S. with her family as a child.
“The president wasn’t pleased about it, and neither was I,” Pence said in an interview with CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett. “And the president’s been very clear about that. But what we’re also not pleased about is the fact that there are four members of Congress who are engaging in the most outrageous statements.”
Garrett interjected, noting the close relationship Trump has with his supporters and how he could could impact their actions in the future.
“This could all go away with one simple word or a phrase or something. You have a chance to say it right now. Don’t do it again. Is that your message?” Garrett asked, prompting Pence to respond that “the president was very clear that he wasn’t happy about it and that if it happened again he might, he might, he’d make an effort to speak out about it,” adding that Trump has already said he would speak out.
Pence went on to argue that “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.”
Trump last week sparked an uproar by telling four freshman representatives — Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) — to “go back” the “crime infested places” they came from.
The House on Tuesday voted to condemn the remarks as racist. Four GOP lawmakers, as well as Independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), joined every Democrat in approving the resolution.
Just a day later, a crowd in North Carolina broke out in a “send her back” chant as Trump targeted Omar. Trump said he disagreed with the chant.
Asked why he didn’t try to stop the chant, the president said that he “started speaking very quickly” to silence it. Video shows he paused for about 13 seconds after the chants began.
Trump has, meanwhile, adamantly stood by his remarks about the congresswomen, claiming on Sunday that they are not “capable” of loving the United States.TAGS ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZAYANNA PRESSLEYRASHIDA TLAIBDONALD TRUMP