Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar alleged Thursday that President Trump is steering the country toward fascism, as they ramped up their criticism of the president in the wake of a fiery rally where he repeatedly blasted the freshman lawmakers.
Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, reacted to the president’s recent comments -- as well as the rally crowd's reaction -- by saying it shows they're “not in politics anymore.”
“We are not in politics anymore. We are in racism… we are in a fascistic government,” she said.
Trump, however, sought Thursday to distance himself from the rally audience's chant of "send her back," which had been directed at Omar.
Ocasio-Cortez also said the rhetoric used in recent days could pose “personal security issues,” not just for lawmakers like herself, but other persons of color. The New Yorker added she trusts Capitol security officials will take care of security but is fearful more for immigrant communities and other persons of color.
“People who are going to be targeted because of this rhetoric… that is our main concern,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Moments later, Omar also weighed in on Capitol Hill, saying: "I want to make sure that every single person who is in this country, who is aspiring to become part of the American fabric, understands nothing this president says should be taken to heart.
"We are Americans as much as anyone else, this is our country, and we are where we belong. I told people on my election night in the great state of Minnesota, we don’t just welcome refugees, we send them to represent us.
"And as much as he is spewing his fascist ideology on stage, telling U.S. citizens to go back because they do not agree with his detrimental policies for our country, we tell people that here in the United States, dissent is patriotic. Here in the United States, disagreement is welcomed, debate is welcomed – especially in the people’s House."
Omar then referenced a group of women she was with, including one who she said recently became a citizen, saying: “This president does not speak for them, and we are going to make sure we get a president they can be proud of.”
During the "Make America Great Again" rally in North Carolina, the crowd broke out in a striking chant of "send her back" while the president criticized Omar and other members of the so-called progressive Democrat "squad."
The three-word chant, which Trump did not respond to, referred to the president's tweet on Sunday in which he asked why unnamed "Democrat Congresswomen" don't "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."
The president later affirmed he was referring to Omar, as well as Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley -- all of whom, except Omar, were born in the United States. After a historic and bizarre floor fight, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives formally condemned Trump's comments as "racist" on Tuesday.
As the president criticized Omar, shouts of "traitor" could then be heard in the crowd.
"And at a press conference just this week, when asked whether she supported Al Qaeda -- that's our enemy, they are a very serious problem, that we take care of, but they always seem to come along somewhere -- she refused to answer," Trump then said.
"Omar blamed the United States for the crisis in Venezuela. I mean, think of that one. And she looks down with contempt on the hardworking Americans, saying that ignorance is pervasive in many parts of this country."
As a handful of people began yelling, "Send her back," Trump added: "And obviously and importantly, Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-Semitic screeds."
The "send her back" chant escalated as Trump stepped away briefly from the podium.
The president did not acknowledge the crowd's chant, and returned after a pause to continue on with his remarks.
On Thursday, however, Trump condemned the chant.
“I was not happy when I heard that chant,” he told reporters, saying he disagrees with it and noting he did not say it.
Prior to the rally, Fox News exclusively reported House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., was seeking extra protection for members of Congress on Monday after Trump’s tweets and remarks about the progressive “squad.”
In the letter for House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger, Thompson argued that the Capitol Police Board should meet to “analyze the current threat environment and set thresholds for enhanced safety of Members.”
Thompson said security officials should set “thresholds for enhanced security for certain targeted Members, and evaluate threat streams with law enforcement partners in Member districts. Being proactive in this instance is vital to the safety of not only these targeted Members, but all Members of Congress.”
Fox News has been told that despite Thompson’s pleas, other lawmakers have faced more serious threats than members of the squad ahead of Trump's tweets.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Griff Jenkins and Gregg Re contributed to this report.