Pelosi Working to ‘Safeguard’ Ilhan Omar After Death Threats Following Trump Tweet
“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” – Ilhan Omar.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said U.S. Capital Police would be “conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, her family and her staff” on Sunday, after President Trump tweeted a video of the Muslim Representative intermixed with footage of the burning World Trade Centers.
In a statement Sunday night, Omar wrote, “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. I thank the Capitol Police, the FBI, the House Sergeant-at-Arms, and the speaker of the House for their attention to these threats.”
In the video, Rep. Omar said “some people did something” in reference to the 9/11 attacks. Republicans criticized her speech as dismissive of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the attack, while Democrats argued her words were taken out of context. The clip of Omar was part of a 20-minute speech to the Muslim Civil Rights Organization a week after the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand.
Conservatives Resent Omar’s Remarks
A Trump supporter was recently arrested after threatening to shoot Omar, and a bomb threat was called in to a building where the Representative was scheduled to make a speech last month.
Rep. David Crenshaw, who served five deployments in ten years as a Navy Seal and lost his right eye during his military service in Afghanistan, took offense at what he perceived to be a flippant tone from the Congresswoman. Crenshaw argued categorizing criticism as life-threatening is a tactic to avoid scrutiny, tweeting:
“When someone calls out a public official for things they said, it is not endangering their life or inciting violence. Claiming otherwise is just an attempt to silence your critics.”
President Trump’s trip to Rep. Ilhan Omar’s home state of Minnesota on Monday, April 15, days after the controversy, was to hold a talk on the GOP tax cuts. Demonstrators are protesting outside the building President Trump is slated to speak. Minnesota Resident Lee Bruno told CBS News he found the president’s comments on Omar to be “really troublesome,” as he condemned the hatred towards Muslims around the country.
Trump’s Focus on Omar Part of Electoral Strategy, The Times Says
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman argues President Trump’s focus on Rep. Ilhan Omar is part of a broader electoral strategy to paint Democrats as extreme. According to internal sources, President Trump is pleased 2020 Democratic candidates are defending her, believing it will hurt them in the upcoming elections. As Haberman reports:
“Ms. Omar ‘is the perfect embodiment of the sharp contrast President Trump wants to paint for 2020,’ said Sam Nunberg, a 2016 campaign aide to Mr. Trump. He added that Mr. Trump is tethering Ms. Omar to more visible Democrats, like her closest ally in Congress, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, whom Republicans have sought to make a boogeyman.”
According to a recent study, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is mentioned on Fox News 75 times a day. Ocasio-Cortez is part of the same progressive wing as Omar, and both Representatives are minorities. Critics believe President Trump is trying to incite racist elements of his base by focusing on the congresswomen.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump claimed to have seen “thousands” of Muslims cheering on rooftops in New Jersey after Sept. 11, a statement that has been proven false. Trump also spoke of creating a registry of Muslims in the United States, telling Anderson Cooper: “I think Islam hates us,” in a March 2016 interview. 75 percent of voters in a South Carolina Republican primary in February 2016 favored his proposed Muslim ban.
Hate-crimes in the U.S. have been spiking in the last few years, and critics fear President Trump’s divisive rhetoric is contributing to violence driven by prejudice against race, religion and sexual orientation.