Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes that Fox News host Jeanine Pirro holds some blame after a Trump supporter leveled a death threat against Congresswoman Ilham Omar, a Muslim.
The 55-year-old New York man, Patrick Carlineo Jr., was arrested this week for allegedly telling an employee in Ilhan’s ofice that he would “put a bullet in [Omar’s] (expletive) skull,” after first asking if the congresswoman worked for the Muslim brotherhood. As Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the man appeared to be picking up a line of attack from the Fox News host against Omar that she was not fully American because of her Muslim faith.
“Understand when Jeanine Pirro goes on Fox + rallies people to think hijabs are threatening, it leads to this,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. “Folks who imply we’re ‘bad’ for politics, the party, the country, etc. have no idea the threats we deal w/ because of that kind of language. Talk policy, not personal.”
Jeanine Pirro had drawn widespread criticism last month for implying during a segment that Ilhan Omar was not in allegiance to the United States constitution because she wears a hijab.
“Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which is antithetical to the U.S. Constitution?” Pirro posed during her show.
The statement drew a rare rebuke from Fox News, a network that normally stands behind on-air personalities amid controversies. Pirro’s program was abruptly pulled from the air in mid-March, and Pirro tried to walk back the comments, saying she did not mean to imply that Ilhan Omar was un-American and instead was only trying to “start a conversation.”
A Trump supporter was just charged with making explicit threats against the life of @IlhanMN. That fact did not stop the president from using her as fodder for ridicule in his Republican Jewish Coalition speech in Las Vegas today. https://t.co/1S1wlNFotF
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) April 6, 2019
Omar, the first woman of Muslim faith ever elected to Congress, has been a frequent target for the right and the target of conspiracy theories. Earlier in the year, a right-wing activist named Jacob Wohl filmed a documentary about claims that Ilhan married her brother to seek immigration protection. In the course of the documentary, Wohl claimed that his life was in danger and that he was receiving death threats, but evidence later emerged that Wohl sent the death threats to himself. As City Pages reported, a man sued Wohl for using his picture in the Twitter profile picture of the account Wohl allegedly used to send the fake death threat to himself.
Ilhan Omar had courted controversy in February after being accused of using anti-Semitic stereotypes while criticizing the pro-Israel lobby in the United States. The freshman congresswoman from Minnesota issued an apology after being criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.