WASHINGTON (AP) — has reversed his previous criticisms of a North Carolina campaign crowd that chanted “send her back” about a Somali-born congresswoman.

Trump on Friday defended the rally-goers as “patriots” while again questioning the loyalty of four Democratic lawmakers of color. His comments marked a return to a pattern that has become familiar during controversies of his own making: ignite a firestorm, backtrack, then strongly reaffirm his original, inflammatory position.

When reporters at the White House asked if he was unhappy with the Wednesday night crowd, Trump responded: “Those are incredible people. They are incredible patriots. But I’m unhappy when a congresswoman goes and says, ‘I’m going to be the president’s nightmare.’”

It was another dizzying twist

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