Wisconsin lawmakers call for calm after "Send Her Back" chants at Trump rally

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBAY) - Tone down the heat. That's the cry from Wisconsin lawmakers after crowds at a rally for President Donald Trump chanted "send her back" in reference to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota).

The chants at the president's rally in Greenville, NC, are the culmination of days of tension between the president and a progressive group of freshman lawmakers.

Rep. Omar is part of the "Squad" of Democrats that includes Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Michigan).

During Wednesday's rally in Greenville, the president called the women "hate-filled extremists." The President singled out Omar and claimed that she supports Al-Qaeda. He also accused her of being anti-Semitic.

Omar has expressed criticism of Israel and support for Palestine. She's also been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes to criticize the American Israel Public Affairs Committee . During the controversy, House members drafted a resolution to "reject anti-Semitism."

Omar's family fled Somalia when she was a child. She's a naturalized U.S. citizen.

On Thursday, lawmakers were swift to condemn the "send her back" chants targeting Omar.

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Republican who represents Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District, warned that nothing would get done if both parties continued the "endless tribal warfare" and "Twitter nonsense."

Gallagher called the chants "abhorrent" in a Tweet. "This is not a good look for the United States of America. We have to find a way to take the temperature down and to rediscover some common ground."

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) issued a statement and pushed for support of a bipartisan bill called Operation Safe Return. Johnson says the bill would speed up the ability to process asylum claims at the southern border.

“With so many serious issues facing our country, it would be helpful for everyone to dial back the rhetoric and focus on actually solving our problems," Sen. Johnson said.

President Trump did not scold the crowd at the rally during the "send her back" chants. However, he told ABC reporter John Karl on Thursday that he disagreed with those chants and "felt a little bit badly about it."

"I disagree with it ... I didn't say that, they did," said Trump.

The chants are the culmination of a week's worth of back-and-forth over a President Trump's July 14 Tweet saying the Progressive women in Congress came from corrupt countries and they should go back and fix them before criticizing the United States.

"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!"

Rep. Omar is the only member of the progressive "Squad" of Democrats born outside of the United States.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) responded to the president with this statement: "President Trump fails to see his racist and xenophobic attacks for what they are. His ongoing embrace of division is disrespectful to the office of the Presidency and fails to provide the leadership America needs."