WASHINGTON    -      Representative Ilhan Omar was greeted by a throng of supporters as she arrived home in Minnesota, fresh off attacks from Donald Trump and his supporters that included chants of “send her back” at the president’s rally this week.

As Trump renewed his criticism of Omar on Friday, the freshman lawmaker received a strong display of support from constituents in her district who greeted her at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport on Thursday with chants of “Welcome home llhan”. The scenes unfolded against the backdrop of another contentious week in Washington, with Trump initially seeking to distance himself from the cries of “send her back” that erupted at his campaign rally in North Carolina on Wednesday.

After telling reporters he was “not happy” about the events and claiming he tried to stop it – despite footage from the rally showing the president looking on silently for more than 10 seconds as the crowd chanted “send her back” and doing nothing to intervene – Trump defended the rally goers on Friday. “Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots,” Trump told reporters at the White House. He added: “You know what I’m unhappy with – the fact that a congresswoman can hate our country … That’s what I’m unhappy with.”

Earlier in the day, Trump revived his attacks on Omar, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, in a Friday morning tweetstorm, branding her as “Foul Mouthed Omar”.

“It is amazing how the Fake News Media became ‘crazed’ over the chant ‘send her back’ by a packed Arena (a record) crowd in the Great State of North Carolina, but is totally calm & accepting of the most vile and disgusting statements made by the three Radical Left Congresswomen,” Trump tweeted, referencing not just Omar but also her colleagues, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.