Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, US, April 10, 2019.
(photo credit: JIM BOURG/ REUTERS)
US President Donald Trump says that he wishes “no ill will” on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
The comments come after Omar said she had received an uptick in death threats, following a video that Trump had posted on Friday lambasting her for her comments at a March 23 event of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in which she described 9/11 as “some people who did something.”
Over the weekend, the revelation of her September 11 comments sparked major backlash from conservative politicians, including the president.
On Sunday night, Omar released a statement saying that “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."
“Violent crimes and other acts of hate by right-wing extremists and white nationalists are on the rise in this country and around the world,” she said. “We can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged by the occupant of the highest office in the land... Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country’s Commander in Chief.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC News on Sunday that “certainly the president is wishing no ill will, certainly not violence towards anyone.”
However, she made it clear that “the president is absolutely – and should be – calling out the congresswoman for her not only one-time, but history of antisemitic comments.”
On Friday night, Trump posted footage of Omar’s speech, which was contrasted with images and footage of the September 11 attacks. He captioned the video, “We will never forget.”
There have been numerous calls for the video to be taken down, with some saying it incites “racism” and “endangers” Omar’s life.
In a statement released on Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained that the memories of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are “sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence.”
She called Trump’s remarks “dangerous,” adding that “the president’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger. President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.”
Pelosi said she had taken steps to ensure Omar’s safety, and that of her family and staff. She said she has spoken to the sergeant-at-arms “to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff,” and that they would “continue to monitor and address the threats she faces.”
Meanwhile, The Women’s March has also called on Twitter and Facebook to take down the video and suspend Trump’s account. They also launched a petition about the matter.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren responded to Trump’s tweet and defended Omar.
Warren called the incident “disgusting” and “shameful,” while Sanders said that Omar “won’t back down to Trump’s racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.”
Ocasio-Cortez said that members of Congress “have a duty to respond to the president’s explicit attack today.”
“@IlhanMN’s life is in danger,” she wrote. “For our colleagues to be silent is to be complicit in the outright, dangerous targeting of a member of Congress.”
During her speech at the CAIR event last month, Omar said that “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.”
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