Sarah Sanders: Trump tweet was ‘absolutely’ meant to blast Ilhan Omar for 9/11 comments

April 15, 2019

President Donald Trump did not criticize Ilhan Omar’s 9/11 comments by mistake, according to his press secretary.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders made it clear on Sunday that Trump was “absolutely” calling out Omar when he tweeted a video that juxtaposed footage of the worst terrorist attack in American history with comments by Omar downplaying the attack.

Sanders said that Trump did not intend any harm toward Omar, but was criticizing the lawmaker’s comments — and bringing attention to a pattern of troubling, offensive remarks about Israel, Jews, and the United States by the freshman lawmaker.

Sanders: No ambiguity in Trump tweet

Sanders made the rounds of Fox News Sunday and ABC’s This Week to defend her boss as he faces criticism for the controversial tweet. Sanders said that Trump harbors no “ill will” toward Omar, but that he has a duty and a right to point out Omar’s inflammatory comments.

She went on to say that the president is not ashamed to call out Omar’s “disgusting,” cavalier remarks about the worst terror attack in the nation’s history, adding that it’s the Democrats who are letting Omar off the hook who should be ashamed.

“He’s not trying to incite violence against anybody, he’s speaking out against it,” Sanders said. “If she continues to do that the president will continue to call her out, call her out by name and he’s not going to be ashamed nor should he be. The only shame…I see in this is Democrats and others aren’t standing up and taking the same hard-line that the president is,” Sanders said. “And for her to talk about it in such a dismissive way is frankly disgusting and abhorrent, and I’m glad the president is calling her out and holding her accountable for it.”

Trump tweeted the video Friday, captioned, “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!” The video, which has been viewed 9 million times, placed Omar’s comments side-by-side with footage of 9/11.

Omar’s allies, including fellow freshmen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who is one of the two first Muslim women elected to Congress besides Omar, said that Omar’s critics took her comments out of context. They decried Trump’s tweet as a threat against Omar’s life and claimed that Omar’s critics were only targeting her because of bigotry.

Omar’s recent controversy began when she said that 9/11 was “some people did something” at an event hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.”CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose our civil liberties,” Omar said.

Omar also asserted that Trump’s video led to death threats against her. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she notified U.S. Capitol Police to take any extra steps necessary protect Omar, her staff, and her family and demanded that Trump take the video down. He has not removed the clip as of Monday.

President not backing down

As criticism piled on from Republicans like Dan Crenshaw (D-TX), the New York Post and the president, Omar and her defenders in the Democratic party played the victim card, with many claiming in near-unison that Omar’s critics were “inciting violence” against the lawmaker on account of her ethnic and religious identity. In response, Republicans have argued that Democrats are trying to suppress criticism of a leading trouble-maker and open racist in the Democratic party.

Omar’s 9/11 comments are just the latest Omar-related controversy to engulf her party. The lawmaker sparked a firestorm earlier this year when she accused the Jewish state of buying off American politicians’ loyalty. Republicans also argue that Omar has shown a pattern of hostility towards the nation that showed her generosity when it provided shelter to the Somali-American lawmaker, who came to America as a refugee.

The 9/11 comments brought renewed attention to a 2013 interview in which Omar joked about Westerners adopting a harsh tone when saying “al-Qaida” and “Hezbollah,” as well as to an op-ed in which Omar claimed that America was “founded on genocide.”

Democrats have largely refused to criticize Omar over the 9/11 comments, which came after Omar also escaped a formal rebuke from her party earlier this year over her comments alleging that pro-Israel politicians have an “allegiance to a foreign country.” Trump attacked the Democratic party for its failure to censure Omar over those comments and said that the Democratic party is hostile to Jewish people.

Trump emerged defiant on Monday with at tweet blasting Pelosi for allowing Omar and other radicals to dictate her party’s agenda, warning: “Before Nancy, who has lost all control of Congress and is getting nothing done, decides to defend her leader, Rep. Omar, she should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made. She is out of control, except for her control of Nancy!”


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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.