Trump weighs in over 9/11 controversy involving Democrat congresswoman
President retweets video edited to suggest Ilhan Omar was dismissive of significance of September attacks
Congreswoman Ilhan Omar has been accused of being dismissive of the significance of the September 11th attacks. Photograph: REUTERS/Jim Bourg
President Donald Trump has retweeted a video edited to suggest Democratic congresswoman Ilhan Omar was dismissive of the significance of the September 11th attacks.
The video shows a snippet of Ms Omar’s speech last month to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in which she described the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre as “some people did something”, spliced with news footage of the hijacked planes hitting the twin towers.
Mr Trump tweeted: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!”
Ms Omar’s remark has drawn criticism from political opponents and conservatives who say the congresswoman, one of the first Muslim women to serve in congress, offered a flippant description of the assailants and the attacks in New York City that killed nearly 3,000 people and placed the United States on the path to war.
Neither Mr Trump’s tweet nor the video includes her full quote or the context of the Minnesota representative’s comments.
Ms Omar told CAIR in Los Angeles that many Muslims saw their civil liberties being eroded after the attacks, and she advocated for activism.
She said in the speech delivered on March 23rd: “For far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I’m tired of it, and every single Muslim in this country should be tired of it.
“CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognised that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
CAIR was founded in 1994, according to its website, but its membership increased dramatically after the 2001 attacks.
Many Republicans and conservative outlets expressed outrage at Ms Omar’s remarks.
US house speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she wants to hear from Ms Omar about the comment, but the Minnesota Democrat does not seem to be backing down.
Ms Omar tweeted a quote from former president George W Bush shortly after the attacks, when he said: “The people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”
Ms Omar tweeted: “Was Bush downplaying the terrorist attack? What if he was a Muslim.”
Two 2020 Democratic presidential candidates waded into the debate to condemn Mr Trump’s tweet and to stand with Ms Omar.
Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted of his party colleague: “She won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we.”
Elizabeth Warren also tweeted: “The president is inciting violence against a sitting congresswoman — and an entire group of Americans based on their religion.”
Ms Omar has repeatedly pushed fellow Democrats into uncomfortable territory over Israel and the power of the Jewish state’s influence in Washington.
She apologised for suggesting members of congress support Israel for pay and said she is not criticising Jews. But she refused to take back a tweet in which she suggested that American supporters of Israel “pledge allegiance” to a foreign country.
Her comments sparked an ugly episode among House Democrats when they responded with a resolution condemning anti-Semitism that became a broader declaration against all forms of bigotry. – PA