The Congressional Black Caucus is throwing its support behind Democratic Minnesota freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar as she weathers attacks from President Trump and Republican leaders who say she made flippant remarks about the September 11 attacks. Omar insists her comments are being taken out of context to launch anti-muslim broadsides against her.
Congressional Black Caucus chairperson Karen Bass D-CA has called out President Trump for his retweet on Friday of a video interspersing Omar speaking at a meeting of the Council on American Islamic Relations with images from the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“We know our colleague Ilhan Omar has received numerous death threats,” said Bass during a Monday teleconference. “In fact, an individual was arrested a week ago for saying he wanted to put a bullet in her head.”
Bass was referring to the FBI arrest of a 55-year-old Trump supporter from New York who threatened to shoot Omar last week.
Bass said Trump’s retweet of the video was highly irresponsible given his position and influence:
“To see the President, who should be a bridge to bring people together, instead showing his divisiveness, that has really put her (Omar) in danger.”
The video shows Omar saying the phrase “some people did something” at the Council on American Islamic Relations event, which is then intercut with scenes of destruction of the 9-11 attacks.
The video does not show the entire 20 minute address in which Omar is speaking about the discrimination and suspicion directed at the muslim community since 9-11. In her address she says “because some people did something we’ve lived with discomfort and lived as second class citizens” among other remarks opposing discrimination toward muslims.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders appeared Sunday on Fox News to defend the President’s actions.
“Certainly, the President is wishing no ill will,” said Sanders. “And certainly not violence toward anyone, but the President is absolutely calling out the Congresswoman for her history of anti-semitic comments.”
But Representative Omar’s supporters say the President is dipping into his tried and true playbook of appealing to his base.
“For the President to use the images from that video to smear Representative Omar to score cheap political points is just plain wrong,” said Democratic Representative André Carson “of Indiana. “While this attack on her has been particularly egregious, it’s not surprising. It has been a pattern of behavior for the President.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reportedly ordered extra security for representative Omar.