Ilhan Omar is a Democratic representative serving for Minnesota’s fifth congressional district. She recently received public criticism for a series of tweets that many deemed anti-Semitic. Originally from Somalia, Omar has encouraged many young women from all backgrounds after she was elected to Congress in November. She is one of the first Muslim women to have reached such a position.
On Sunday evening, Omar sent out a controversial tweet suggesting that the United States support of Israel is fueled solely by money. Many rejected her sentiment, including the president himself. Donald Trump spoke out in criticism of Omar and her comments, according to the Huffington Post.
Her remark was sparked by comments from journalist Glenn Greenwald, who frequently writes for the Guardian. Greenwald had originally questioned Republican support of pro-Israeli policies. In response to the journalist, Omar responded that “it’s all about the Benjamins baby.” Inspired by a 1997 Puff Daddy song, her tweet seemed to be conveying that the Republican Party’s only interest in such policies is for financial purposes.
Omar was immediately criticized by political leaders on both sides of the spectrum. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was one of the first to speak out in condemnation of the stereotypes Omar’s statement contribute to, in regards to Jewish people.
“Anti-Semitism must be called out, confronted and condemned whenever it is encountered, without exception. We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”
Many wondered why someone like Omar, who has been forced to endure questioning concerning her own faith, would not have more understanding and respect for those of other religions. As pressure built for her to take back her earlier remarks, the congresswoman was led to issue a public apology that she shared via Twitter. She claimed to be listening to the influx of criticism being thrown at her and plans to use it to learn. While she claimed her intention was never to offend those of Jewish background, she insisted she will be using this time to step back and think about how her words may affect others.
“We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
President Trump felt Omar’s apology didn’t quite cut it.
“I think it was a terrible statement, and I don’t think her apology was adequate,” he said.