Representative Ilhan Omar.
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call
Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar says she has received an increase in death threats against her since President Trump tweeted a misleading video of comments she made at the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) last month, juxtaposed with images of the September 11th attacks.
“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 wrote in a statement released Sunday night.
“Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country’s Commander in Chief,” she concluded. “We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop.”
Earlier on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement saying she had ensured Capitol Police are “conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.” She also called on President Trump to “take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”
Trump’s video was posted Friday, and was, for a time, the pinned tweet on his Twitter page. It is no longer pinned, but it has not been deleted. The 45-second video shows a truncated line from a speech Omar gave at CAIR, in which she said, “after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something.”
The White House, many Republicans, and the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post, have seized on this snippet as supposed evidence of Omar being dismissive of the 9/11 attacks. In fact, it was part of a larger point the congresswoman was making about how, following the attacks, many Muslims in the United States experienced violence, discrimination, and a loss of their civil liberties, because so many people equated them with the hijackers — a point that clearly fell on deaf ears, given that it has resulted in even more discrimination and threats of violence.
On Fox News Sunday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that the president was trying to incite violence against the Muslim congresswoman, saying, “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.”
Omar was accused of anti-Semitism earlier this year, following comments she made about the outsized influence of the Israel lobby in the United States (she later apologized for the phrasing of the comments, but stood behind her criticism of lobbying).
This is far from the first time since taking office that Omar has faced threats on her life. Earlier this month, a New York man was arrested after he called Omar’s Washington, D.C., office, called her a terrorist, and threatened to kill her. And in March, the F.B.I. opened an investigation into a threat against Omar, after someone graffitied “Assassinate Ilhan Omar” in a Minnesota men’s room bathroom stall.