WASHINGTON -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday condemned as "hurtful, wrong and completely unacceptable" chants by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump at a rally to "send her back" in reference to an immigrant member of Congress.
"I want everyone in Canada to know that those comments are completely unacceptable and should not be allowed, encouraged in Canada," Trudeau told reporters in Montreal during a joint news conference with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
Trump claimed on Thursday he was "not happy" when supporters at his rally began chanting "send her back" at a rally the previous evening.
The incident occurred at an event in North Carolina after Trump mentioned Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Muslim who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen and freshman member of Congress.
Omar is one of four female Democrats elected last year who Trump said should "go back" to the country they came from, comments he first made Sunday on Twitter that have been widely criticized as racist.
The other three women were born in the United States.
"I was not happy with it. I disagree with it," Trump said at the White House on Thursday when asked why he didn't stop his supporters.
"I felt a little bit badly about it," he said.
However, Trump had stood back from the podium and allowed the supporters to chant repeatedly.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Canada-EU summit, Tusk said that while he didn't want to comment on domestic US politics in Canada, he felt compelled to react.
"I've been, for many years, one of the most pro-American politicians in Europe," Tusk said. "It's difficult to understand some facts, some words and sometimes if you feel that something is totally unacceptable, you have to react despite business, despite interests. For me, values are much more important than trade, sorry, maybe I'm old fashioned but I will never change my opinion here."
The president has repeatedly doubled down on his weekend tweets targeting the four ethnic-minority Democrats, accusing his critics of being anti-American and saying they should leave the country if they were unhappy with the current political situation.
Democrats have roundly blasted the president, passing a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning Trump's "racist" tweets.
The four young Democrats have been particularly outspoken about Trump's hard-line immigration policies, in particular conditions at detention facilities.
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