President Donald Trump fired up Twitter on Friday posting a video montage of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar speaking as the World Trade Center towers crash. The tweet, which has amassed more than 100,000 “likes” so far, is clearly meant to make a connection between Omar’s statements and the September 11 attacks carried out by radical Islamists.
“WE WILL NEVER FORGET!” the president’s caption reads, clearly implying that Omar — a Muslim, hijab-wearing congresswoman — downplayed the September 11 attacks. That is not what happened, however, according to Axios, which is one of the many prominent news outlets to fact check the president’s claims.
Omar’s speech that Trump incorporated into his tweet dates back March of this year. Omar is being criticized for stating that “some people did something,” a statement which plays on loop in the video Trump posted, and, in context, sounds very different than doctored videos suggest. Apparently, Omar was arguing that post-9/11 civil liberties crackdowns had affected the personal freedoms of many Americans, Muslim-Americans in particular.
“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 this country should be tired of it. CAIR (Council On American-Islamic Relations) was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”
Nevertheless, conservative Twitter personalities and Republican politicians piled on, sharing the video and attacking Congresswoman Omar. Quick to jump to her defense was Independent Vermont senator and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Sanders condemned the “dangerous and disgusting attacks” against Omar.
Ilhan Omar is a leader with strength and courage. She won't back down to Trump's racism and hate, and neither will we. The disgusting and dangerous attacks against her must end.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 13, 2019
This is not the first time for Omar to get accused of supporting terrorism. As The Daily Beast notes, conservative media and politicians have done so on numerous occasions. This has caused death threats against the congresswoman to surge, with many Twitter users calling for violence against her, suggesting that she be imprisoned and deported.
The manufactured controversy surrounding @IlhanMN's 9/11 remarks is predicated on the Islamophobic belief that Muslims "by nature" harbor terrorist and violent sympathies and are therefore complicit in the 9/11 attacks. This is the most basic definition of bigotry. #Islamophobia https://t.co/iwN1K8rvOR— Todd Green (@toddhgreen) April 12, 2019
In March, as USA Today reported, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, questioned Omar’s loyalty to the United States, suggesting that the fact she is a Muslim means that she is not loyal to the United States. Pirro was suspended following these comments, but allowed back on air after President Donald Trump urged that Fox News let her return.
Republicans are honing in on four words of a 20-minute speech to paint Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women in Congress, as un-American.— Vox (@voxdotcom) April 11, 2019
Their attacks aren't just inaccurate — they're downright dangerous, writes Vox's Zack Beauchamp. https://t.co/ESkYKhzqEs
Many have criticized the Democratic leadership as well, for refusing to defend Omar against the attacks. In a Twitter message, New Republic editor Jeet Heer called out top Democrats, including Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.
Common Dreams writer Eoin Higgins praised Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren for defending Omar, suggesting that the Democratic leadership is not doing enough to stand up for the congresswoman.
The longer members of the Democratic leadership cower and refuse to speak out for @IlhanMN the more emboldened hate merchants like Trump and his ilk will feel.— Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) April 12, 2019
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted that “what is being done” to Ilhan Omar is “vile, dangerous, inflammatory, and hateful beyond what can be described.”
Today, more than ever, Jewish Voice for Peace stands with @Ilhan under nearly constant attack by far right politicians and not defended nearly enough by fellow Democrats. Show her support NOW. #IStandWithIlhan #StandWithIlhan pic.twitter.com/iV67KHkgXH— JewishVoiceForPeace (@jvplive) April 13, 2019
The hashtag “IstandWithIlhan” is already trending on Twitter, and organizations such as the Jewish Voice For Peace have also come out in support of the congresswoman.