Trump Assails Pelosi for Defending Muslim Congresswoman
U.S. President Donald Trump took a new swipe Monday at Rep. Ilhan Omar for her comments about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for defending the Somali American lawmaker.
Omar Reports Rise in Death Threats After Trump Tweet
On Twitter, Trump said, "Before Nancy, who has lost all control of Congress and is getting nothing done, decides to defend her leader, Rep. Omar, she should look at the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and ungrateful U.S. HATE statements Omar has made. She is out of control, except for her control of Nancy!"
Omar, one of two Muslim women in the U.S. Congress, said Sunday she has experienced an increase in death threats in the days since Trump posted a video critical of her comments about the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. Trump's Friday tweet included Omar's brief line from a recent speech that "somebody did something" in the attack, followed by more than 40 seconds of Sept. 11 video footage and a large graphic repeating the words "somebody did something."
Pelosi Calls on Trump to Take Down his Tweet of Omar Video
Omar said many of those threatening her life directly referenced Trump's post. She also cited a rise in violence and acts of hate by right-wing extremists in the United States and elsewhere in the world, saying, "We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged" by Trump.
"Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country's commander in chief," she wrote. "We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop."
White House Denies Trump Stirring Up Violence With Anti-Omar Tweet
Earlier in the day, the White House denied Trump is inciting violence and Islamophobia.
"Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on the "Fox News Sunday" political issues program. "But the president should be calling out the congresswoman for not only one time but a history of anti-Semitic comments," she added, accusing Omar's fellow Democrats of "looking the other way."
Pelosi, who oversees the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, said the memories of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington are "sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence." She asked security officials to make sure Omar and her staff are protected at the Capitol and nearby congressional office buildings.
Pelosi called Trump's video "disrespectful and dangerous," and said it must be removed.
Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler said on CNN Sunday he had no problem with Omar's comments.
"I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not with that one," he said.
In an emotional speech last month to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Omar spoke out against discrimination against and suspicions of Muslims.
"CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties. 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 the country should be tired of it," she said.
Other Omar critics have focused solely on that one single line, accusing her of trivializing the inhumanity of Sept. 11 but not mentioning the rest of her speech.
In Polarized Climate, US Muslims Feel Vulnerable
Some Democrats accuse Trump of stirring up the same kind of Islamophobia that Omar was decrying.
Nadler said Trump has "no moral authority" for talking about Sept. 11. He accused Trump of "stealing" a $150,000 grant meant for small business owners to rebuild their destroyed businesses after the attack and using that money for his own real estate holding.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted that then-President George W. Bush, a Republican, went to a mosque after 9/11 to assure Muslim Americans that they are not criminals and terrorists.