Prominent Democrats defended Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN) after Donald Trump tweeted a viral video featuring a recent 9/11 speech by Omar.
Members of Omar's Congressional 2018, including MPs Ayanna Pressley (MA) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), responded to the tweet by informing the president of both the spread of Islamophobia and the threat to security Omar accused.
̵1; Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) April 13, 2019
Members of Congress today have to respond to the president's explicit attack. The life of IlhanMN is in danger. If our colleagues want to be silent, they must participate in the obvious, dangerous goal of a congress. We have to comment.
"First they came …" pic.twitter.com/ ygOX1vhE9j
– Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) April 12, 2019
Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro and Jay Inslee, all defending Omar
The president incites violence against a seated congressman – and a whole group of Americans based on their religion. It's disgusting. It's embarrassing. And any elected leader who refuses to judge him bears the responsibility.
– Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 13, 2019
Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She will not resort to Trump's racism and hatred and we will not. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against them must come to an end.
– Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 13, 2019
After 9/11 we said we were all changed. That we were stronger and united. That's what "never forgotten" was about. Now a president is using this dark day to base his base against a member of Congress as if it were for sport. As if we had learned nothing about the functioning of hatred that day
– Pete Buttigieg April 13, 2019
President Trump's rebellious and dangerous rhetoric against Ilhan Omar threatens her safety. He intentionally puts them and all Muslim Americans at risk.
– Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) April 13, 2019
While some Democrats House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) were more in their criticism, and others like New York Rep. Max Rose used Trump's Tweet to get across the corridor, there was no appreciable criticism of Omar's remarks.
This marks a significant departure from February when Democratic leaders condemned tweets criticized by Omar for criticizing the influence of pro-Israel lobbyists. In a joint statement signed by Pelosi, House Steny Hoyer (MD) Majority Leader James Clyburn (SC) and other leading Democrats, party leaders dismissed "the use of anti-Semitic Tropes" by Congressman Omar as deeply offensive out .
The statement demanded that Omar apologize. After the parliament, it adopted a resolution which did not mention it by name, but which widely denounced "the maintenance of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the United States and around the world".
Now Democrats strike a different tone. Her defense of Omar is the latest step in an attempt to protect the novice Democrat from what liberals increasingly call an Islamophobic campaign. Omar is one of the first Muslim women working in the congress, a fact some of which, such as Nox Chittal of Vox and Chris Hayes of MSNBC, are central to criticism.
The Democrats also see this as an opportunity to attack Trump and differentiate themselves and their party from politics, which the President prefers.
Omar's words were taken out of context.
Omar's clip comes from a speech delivered by the congressman in March to members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim civil rights organization. In the speech, which was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, Omar emphasized Importance of organizations such as CAIR and praised them for helping to protect Muslims from civil rights violations.
"For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second – class citizens, and frankly, I'm tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it," Omar said. "CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they realized that some people did something and that we all lost access to our civil liberties."
As Zox Beauchamp of Vox explained, Omar's words "Some people have done something" were quickly seized by right-wingers "to paint [Omar] as an anti-American radical who killed the people killed in the September 11 attacks indifferent to each other. "
The New York Post took the quote and put it on the front page with a picture of 9/11 on Thursday; Sean Hannity, a conservative media personality, tweeted to his supporters. Omar's cover and online criticism of her alleged statement was followed by the release of the video tweeted by the president.
Beauchamp described Right's indignation as a "part and parcel" of an "anti-Muslim campaign," adding:
These attacks are a direct attempt to use them in the Boogeyman of the Islamophobic Nightmares of the GOP. Making Foundation meant building politically useful fears and anger by attacking one of the first Muslim congress women. That this seems to have contributed to at least one death threat against them, is demonstrably unimportant: The recent attacks were made after the news of the arrest of the threat manufacturers.
Political threats become real threats to Omar
President's Tweet For the second time in recent weeks, he has directly attacked Omar. Last Saturday, he made disparaging remarks about the congressman at the annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, just hours after law enforcement officials indicted one of his followers for threatening to kill them.
55-year-old Patrick Carlineo Jr., allegedly called in Omar's office, asked the staff, "Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she's a fucking terrorist? "Before she told them," I'll put a bullet in her damn skull. "
Police officers said Carlineo told them he loves the president and that he hates radical Muslims in our government" after they were arrested.
While Carlineo's arrest was arrested after her speech, Omar's avowed belief in her CAIR address made her blame Trump for escalating anti-Muslim sentiments.
"We have a leader … in the White House who says publicly, Islam hates us, who stirs hatred of Muslims, who thinks it's right, about a faith and a whole community in a way to speak that dehumanizes, denigrates and does not understand the consequences that his words might have. Said Omar. "Some people like me know that he understands the consequences."