Hate-mongering POTUS puts out hit-job on Rep. Omar. Photo: Gage Skidmore–Flickr
Friday, President Donald Trump used a provocatively edited 9-11 video of Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar taking her words “somebody did something” out of context to imply she didn’t care about the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Trump decided to use this incendiary tactic even as Omar has increasingly become the target of right-wing death threats-which has increased since Friday. Last Thursday The New York Post also published on its front-page the same words Rep. Omar used in a speech last month, with a photo of the burning World Trade Center buildings.
Trump’s inflammatory comments, and slick editing of the 9-11 video, has been roundly rebuked for its Islamophobic tone by Democrats. But Republicans have decided instead to ignore Trump’s blatant attempts to further divide Americans and even incite violence, with their hypocritical attacks on Omar.
Trump’s actions make it easier for right-wing racists to engage in violence-especially, against Democratic members of Congress like Omar.
The next person who mails bombs, like Cesar Sayoc, could actually kill some political opponents. Trump could then revel in his malevolent power to manipulate racist supporters. Remember, this is the man who bragged “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
The Trump video, with the World Trade Center towers burning during the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks includes the recently scrutinized quote of “some people did something,” by Rep. Omar, along with the words “We will never forget.” Trump, and other Republicans, have said Omar’s comments show insensitivity regarding 9-11.
These comments by Rep. Omar were taken from a larger speech she made last month at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). During the speech, Omar decried the fact that Muslims were forced to live “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.” She also added that CAIR was founded “because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
However, as is usually the case with deceitful Republicans, they have cynically decided to amplify only the “some people did something” part of her speech. Isn’t it interesting these same Republicans remain tight-lipped to the many racist, sexist and truly insensitive comments President Trump makes on an almost daily basis?
Republicans have zero credibility pretending they have any moral standing criticizing Rep Omar.
Many Democrats have correctly denounced Trump’s act of incitement against Rep. Omar, especially, since she has been receiving death threats from racist right-wingers. Recently, Trump supporter Patrick Carlineo Jr., 55, from Addison, New York, was arrested for threatening Omar’s life. On March 21, Carlineo reportedly called Omar’s office and said to a staff member “Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a [expletive] terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull.”
New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez challenged Congress to speak out against the attacks on Omar. “Members of Congress have a duty to respond to the President’s explicit attack today,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “@IlhanMN’s life is in danger. For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress. We must speak out.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, visiting troops in Germany, on Saturday, said “the memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence. It is wrong for the president, as commander-in-chief, to fan the flames to make anyone less safe.”
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a 2020 presidential candidate, denounced Trump’s video incitement. “Someone has already been charged with a serious threat on Congresswoman Omar’s life. The video the president chose to send out today will only incite more hate,” said Klobuchar. “You can disagree with her words – as I have done before – but this video is wrong.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., another 2020 presidential candidate, who fought in Afghanistan, said “After 9/11 we all said we were changed. That we were stronger and more united, that’s what ‘never forget’ was about. Now, a president uses that dark day to incite his base against a member of Congress, as if for sport. As if we learned nothing that day about the workings of hate.”
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren condemned Trump’s comments for “inciting violence against a sitting congresswoman – and an entire group of Americans based on their religion. It’s disgusting. It’s shameful. And any elected leader who refuses to condemn it shares responsibility for it.” Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said Rep. Omar “won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we.”
Indeed, we cannot surrender to the racists, and racial arsonists, like Trump who are now attempting to “take our country back” to the days of brutal bigotry, where White supremacy ruled freely. We’ve come too far.
On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly spoke to the House of Representatives Sergeant-of-Arms related to matters regarding protecting Rep. Omar. “The President’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi said. The House Speaker added that Trump’s provocative video was “disrespectful and dangerous.”
On Monday, Trump visited Minnesota where he touted his tax bill as a success for the state. During his visit, there were protests for and against this president who promotes prejudice for political gain.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, appearing Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, was busy lying as she and other Trump officials are always doing.
“Certainly, the president is wishing no ill will, and certainly not violence towards anyone,” Sanders said. “But the president is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her not only one time but history of anti-Semitic comments. It’s absolutely abhorrent, the comments she continues to make and has made.”
Sarah Sanders illustrates the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the Trump White House. Is there any current politician who has said more abhorrent things than Trump? Did Sanders forget Trump called African nations “shithole countries?” Did she forget he said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS?” What about Trump’s characterization of Mexicans-and all Latinos by extension-as “rapists” and “drug dealers” who bring “crime and disease” to America?
Does anyone say more racist and despicable things than Trump?
The idea Trump means “no ill will” would be laughable if his prejudicial provocations weren’t so deadly serious. According to a new study, by the Washington Post, hate crimes have risen by 226 percent in counties that hosted rallies for Trump in 2016. Using data from the Anti-Defamation League, the researchers found that “Trump’s rhetoric may encourage hate crimes.”
The FBI has reported that hate crimes rose 17 percent in 2017 from 2016. According to the Rolling Stone magazine, Trump’s tweeted video attack on Omar has “received nearly 100,000 retweets and over a quarter of a million likes.” Not surprisingly, by Sunday, Omar said she has “experienced an increase in death threats,” with many referencing the video.
Black Americans must force the weak Democratic Party to speak out more forcefully against the violent rhetoric coming from racist right-wing Republican types. Several weeks ago, Democrats passed a resolution supposedly anti-Semitism. Within that resolution, White supremacy was nothing more than an afterthought addition. The document seemed to be more about containing criticism of Israel regarding their policies against Palestinians.
Representative Ilhan Omar, as a Black Muslim Somali woman, embodies several constituencies that are usually taken for granted on Capitol Hill-by Republicans and Democrats alike. Omar’s voice represents millions who have been silenced. Black Americans cannot afford to allow Donald Trump and White racists to silence her.