Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar defended calling White House adviser Stephen Miller a “white nationalist” Monday on Twitter.
On Tuesday, in an interview with CNN on Capitol Hill, Omar addressed the criticism she has faced since making the claim, calling the incident “bizarre.”
“You know we are talking about someone who truly believes not a single refugee, not a single immigrant, should set foot on American soil,” Omar said.
“I am appalled by that. Because unlike him and others, I haven’t forgotten my roots. I know what it meant for me to get the opportunity to come to the United States to start anew,” she added.
Omar, a Democrat, also criticized Miller and President Donald Trump for forgetting how their families had opportunities to come to America, which in turn helped them become the president and have an opportunity to work in the White House.
“So when you get that opportunity, you do not turn your back on the next person who is seeking that opportunity. And I am here to make sure they never forget,” the representative said.
In her tweet, Omar called Miller a “white nationalist,” lamenting the fact that he has the power to influence the president’s policies and political appointments. She also shared a link to an article alleging Miller was behind the president’s decision to take the country’s immigration policies in a “tougher direction.”
On Tuesday, Omar tweeted a link to another article that warned about the dangers of Miller’s extreme stance on immigration, claiming that it was a “sign,” and the country could not afford to tiptoe around the issue any longer.
Omar’s initial tweet came after a shakeup at the Department of Homeland Security that included the departure of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. CNN reported that Miller played a “key role” in the secretary’s resignation.
On Tuesday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said it was not surprising that Omar would attack Miller, who is Jewish, noting she has a “well-documented history of anti-Semitic comments, social media posts and relationships,” CNN reported.
President Trump also responded to Omar’s comments. On Tuesday, he shared a quote on Twitter from Jeff Ballabon, who denounced Omar’s comments, calling them unacceptable.
Rep. Ilhan Omar defends herself after calling White House adviser Stephen Miller a "white nationalist" https://t.co/o4fkcw63ex— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 9, 2019
Earlier in the month, Trump called out Omar for “not liking Israel” at the Republican Jewish Coalition, The Hill reported.
Omar has faced this kind of criticism before. In February, she was accused of using anti-Jewish tropes, including a remark that suggested support for Israel was “all about the Benjamins,” and she also accused Jewish-American legislators of “dual loyalty,” according to The New York Post. Trump even asked that Omar resign after making the remarks, stating that anti-Semitism had no place in Congress.
Some Democrats also expressed concern for the remarks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they were “deeply offensive.”
The Post reported that Omar made a “partial apology” for her comments. The report also added that many Jewish voters said they were done with the Democratic party after what the representative said. The House passed a resolution that condemned all “hateful expressions of intolerance” in response to the public outcry over her comments.