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Ilhan Omar says she is receiving increased death threats due to Trump’s 9/11 tweet
Ilhan Omar is doubling down on playing the victim after making light of 9/11.
The Minnesota representative says that she has received an increase in death threats since President Donald Trump shared a video splicing together footage of the worst terror attack in American history with recent comments by Omar trivializing the attack. The congresswoman set off controversy when she likened 9/11 to merely, “Some people did something.”
Omar claims death threats over Trump video
Trump tweeted a video Friday that juxtaposed Omar’s comments with footage of the tragedy that was captioned, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!” Omar said Sunday that the volume of threats directed toward her has grown ever since Trump shared the video.
“Since the President’s tweet Friday evening, I have experienced an increase in direct threats on my life — many directly referencing or replying to the president’s video,” Omar said. “Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world. We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she took steps with Capitol Police to ensure the safety of Omar, her family ,and her staff and called on Trump to take the video down Sunday.
“The President’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi said. “President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”
The president not only did not delete it; he briefly pinned it to the top of his Twitter feed. Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, defended her boss’s tweet, saying that he had a right to bring attention to Omar’s history of offensive remarks, and called on Democrats to do the same.
“Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone, but the president is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her — not only one time — but history of anti-Semitic comments,” Sanders said. “The bigger question is why aren’t Democrats doing the same thing? It’s absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way.”
On Monday, President Trump warned Pelosi, who he said “lost all control” of her party, to “look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made” before defending her.
Omar has been at the center of controversy since sparking backlash in February with comments about Israel that were widely seen as anti-Semitic. While some Democrats took issue with Omar’s comments, they fell short of issuing a formal rebuke, leading many to say Pelosi had indeed lost control of the party. In addition, few Democrats have been willing to step forward and criticize Omar’s 9/11 comments.
Trump’s Friday tweet came one day after the New York Post ran a cover story with an image of the World Trade Center in flames that was captioned, “Here’s your something 2,977 people dead by terrorism.” As criticism of Omar poured in, the lawmaker and her defenders quickly claimed that her critics were only targeting her because she is a black woman and a Muslim. With almost programmed uniformity, Democrats condemned criticism of Omar an “incitement of violence” against her and all Muslims.
To be sure, Omar has previously been the target of threats. An upstate New York man was charged this month with threatening to kill her. However, Omar’s Republican critics say that she and her defenders are attempting to quash criticism of her comments by equating criticism with threats of violence.
The lawmaker made the reference to “some people did something” in a speech for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last month. Omar made the comments in the context of discussing what she called a wave of discrimination against Muslims that targeted their civil liberties after 9/11. But even taken in context, Omar’s lack of specificity as to the perpetrators and her cavalier tone offended many Americans.
Fellow congressional freshmen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), close allies of Omar, decried what they called racially motivated incitement of violence against their colleague over comments which they said were taken out of context. Even Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), whose district includes the very area targeted on 9/11, said he “had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not — but not with that one.”
However, additional context casts a less exculpatory light on Omar’s remarks. The controversy brought renewed attention to a 2013 local TV interview in which Omar mocked Westerners who adopt a grave tone when using the Arabic names of terror groups like Hezbollah and al-Qaida. She also noted that nobody says “America” with the same serious tone, essentially placing America and the West on the same moral plane as terrorist groups.
For her part, Omar has said that she is a patriot who loves her country with unwavering loyalty, tweeting in response to detractors last week: “My love and commitment to our country…should never be questioned.”
To Omar’s critics, though, her 9/11 comments were just the latest from a congresswoman who has expressed hostility towards Israel as well as to the nation that took her in as a refugee from Somalia.
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