Following a couple of days of being dragged over the coals for alleged anti-Semitism in her comments criticizing the pro-Israeli government lobbying group American Israeli Public Affairs Committee or AIPAC, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) was in no mood to listen to President Donald Trump’s calls for her to resign. Instead, according to the Hill, she clapped back via Twitter, letting the president have it with both barrels.
“Hi @realDonaldTrump,” Omar tweeted.
“You have trafficked in hate your whole life – against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous, immigrants, black people and more. I learned from people impacted by my words. When will you?”
Rep. Omar, one of two newly-elected Muslim women in Congress – the first two Muslim women to serve in the history of the U.S. – spent Monday and Tuesday apologizing and reaching out to people on both sides of the aisle for comments that some construed as anti-Semitic. Omar came under fire for criticizing the amount of money AIPAC spends lobbying Congress, some $3.5 million in 2018 alone, and saying on Twitter that the relationship pols have with AIPAC is “all about the Benjamins,” which some critics claim has anti-Semitic connotations.
But on Tuesday, Trump jumped into the fray, commenting on Omar’s troubles during a meeting with his cabinet, calling her apology “lame,” and even going so far as to say her original comments about AIPAC are “deep-seated in her heart.” Trump went on to call for Omar’s resignation from Congress, or at least for her to step down from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
However, Omar stood by her earlier apology, in which she noted the reality of anti-Semitism, and thanked the “Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me.”
“My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,” Omar wrote. “This is why I unequivocally apologize.”
Listening and learning, but standing strong ???????? pic.twitter.com/7TSroSf8h1
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 11, 2019
And far from resigning from her assignment to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Omar instead spent the day peppering President Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela and former Iran-Contra figure Elliot Abrams with questions.
She pressed Abrams on what he knew or didn’t know of extra-judicial deaths in Central America during the Reagan years, and even suggested that Abrams’ record implies that there is little reason to believe him today when he testifies about Trump’s plans for U.S. involvement in Venezuela’s affairs.
“In 1991 you pleaded guilty,” Rep. Omar asked, “regarding your involvement in Iran-Contra… I fail to understand why [we] should find any testimony that you give today to be truthful.”
The subsequent back-and-forth between the newly-minted congresswoman and old-school Cold Warrior would seem to indicate that Omar has no intention of bending to Trump’s will and resigning.